The Civic Chat

My son is involved in the movie industry, and with him I am interested in the art of making movies. The technology and skill and creative talent that go into movies these days is amazing. I very much enjoy watching movies, and through my son have more of an understanding of the medium than I would otherwise have had.

Yet here I am, involved in live theatre … and I have been wondering, given technological developments in 3D and virtual reality and communications, what purpose will be served by live theatre in the not-too-distant future.

Since the advent of film and television, live theater has been facing an uphill battle to pull in the crowd. Why spend $15.00 when for half the price you can watch a very good movie? Arthur Miller said, ‘My feeling is that people in a group, en masse, watching something, react differently and perhaps more profoundly than they do in their living rooms’ He has a point. Of course it needs to be good theatre. Some live theatre is probably best avoided and you would be better off curled up with a good book, or a DVD and a nice wine.

I walked on stage in our recent production of An Unseasonable Fall of Snow and delivered one word. The two other actors had spent the last hour delivering a powerful performance that had the audience riveted. I was entering a living moment … something tangible between the cast and the audience. Finn said the final line of the play, and I heard and felt the audience respond. Wonderful and immediate and collective.

In our latest show, Skin Tight I sat in the audience. Around me the audience laughed, and listened and some of the ladies wiped at tears while the men swallowed hard.

And that’s the thing with live theatre. Real life is created between production teams, actors and audience, and the collective experience is rewarding to us all. I enjoy a good movie, but there is a dimension created in good live theatre that is special and unique.
That’s my Chat for this month. I’ll wave the flag for Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat next month.

Bye for now
Pete