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Writing Event #5: Will America ever have a National Theatre?

To put it simply: NO.

Now, that’s not to say that it can’t happen. In this world, anything is possible. We talk about things that according to our standards, realistically can’t happen. However, there are circumstances in which these sorts of events can become a reality, such as the event I’m specifying. If these sorts of organizations can happen in other plaes around the world, than it can surely be possible. It isn’t like people haven’t tried to orchestrate this sort of movement, and for a small amount of time, this idea lasted in the form of the Federal Theatre Project, an attempt to bring the values of Europe’s own theatre group to the United States in the mainstream. However, after four years, the Federal Theatre Project quickly faded into obscurity.

One of the biggest contributing factors to the group’s downfall at the time can be described by one word: Politics. Even in today’s society, the mention of politics can quickly tensions due to the many moral and political differences that we as a society face. Because of the slight political edge the group had, many people were not so keen about having political opinion shoved in their faces, especially those with opinions that opposed the group’s own. And in turn, if this were to attempt to turn up in our society today, people would definitely turn against this idea. Not to say that discussing politics in theatre isn’t allowed, but with the minimal knowledge I have in theatre, I can say that people nowadays would not go to see a play solely to witness one’s political agenda being pushed on them. It just wouldn’t work in as politically-driven the United States is, especially now.

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Writing Event #4: Is there value in live theatre performances in the age of digital content so easily available?

In this age of isolation, theatre has come to a large halt. Not that it cannot thrive in this manner, but theatre has definitely been impacted greatly by the current situation the world is facing. However, with the emergence of digital media over the past few years, theatre has been given the opportunity to dive into the digital market, and with musicals such as Hamilton being incredibly successful on digital services, it begs the question: Can theatre still have just as much value in a digital setting as it does in a real-life setting. 

To be fair, the question varies based upon the individual. In my personal opinion, there’s value to be found in theatre from both directions, and can actually give two different perspectives of the same piece of art. For example, seeing a play live gives a more ‘authentic’ feeling when you see it for yourself. It’s definitely the most preferred way to view theatre, and it could have the most value, as living that experience can give a much larger appreciation for said piece. However, if a theatrical work has a digital version, or pro-cut available, it could give a completely new perspective of the work 

through different angles, and being able to focus on the expressions and work of those on stage. But, in the era of the digital age, theatre to me will always have value in the modern world, even with the current troubles of our current society. Although I do talk about Hamilton a lot when discussing these theatre reflections (despite not being the biggest fan of the musical), I discuss it very much because it’s digital success during the pandemic means that the appreciation for theatre is still alive. Even though we can’t see them currently, theatre is an art form that will keep evolving and growing with the digital era of life.

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Writing Event #3: “Theater is important because it touches the human soul.”

When it comes to theater, it’s something that many value in some form. It’s a form of expression, a medium to represent topics that are hard to touch upon. When actors are on a stage, the audience sees them as not just an actor, but a representation of something. To me, theater is an important medium to express emotion. That brings me to one simple quote: “Theater is important because it touches the human soul.”

This quote may seem simple on the surface, but there are many layers that lay beneath this. When it means the ‘human soul’, it refers to the emotions we feel. Whether it be learning to empathize with others, or understand the situation of another, theater can remind us of the highs and lows that come with our humanity. Love, tragedy, all sorts of things can be expressed to us on stage. In our lives, we feel all sorts of things. There can be good days, where it seems like everything is looking up and that the world can do no wrong. However, the lows can come just as quickly, whether it be through a rough family situation or a breakup of sorts. Through the happy and sad moments of our lives, we turn to different ways to cope, even if it won’t fix anything. Theater, and many other forms of art, are things we go to in order to capture that feeling, to know that in some capacity, we are not alone in a situation, and that art expresses the same emotions that we currently feel. Through a theatrical lens, we’re able to experience the journey of a character, whether it be realistic or not. It’s why some people tend to resonate with certain characters in plays, film, and many other mediums due to the fact that their journeys were able to strike a chord in the viewer.

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Week 2,Writing Event #2: Why does theater matter?

Theater is an art form that cannot be ignored. Even in the present era of society, theater has managed to stay relevant, and arguably, more popular than ever before. With theater being blown even more into the mainstream than it already is, it begs the question. Why does theater matter so much, and why are we able to connect to it?

While I’m not an expert when it comes to theater, one thing I know for sure is the current pandemic’s impact of the medium. Theater, a practice that thrives off of a live, auditory experience, was heavily impacted by the pandemic. Seeing a play or musical in real time was considered essential when witnessing theater, not just to those in the audience, but to those who acted out the story itself. Just like other forms of literature, theater is a field of expression. You can project all kinds of different emotions and subjects onto paper, but unlike other forms of literature, theater is unique in its performative nature. 

Actors are able to get into the character’s shoes, portraying people that, depending on the subject or nature of the story, can connect to the audience on many different levels. It can be an outlet to be represented—to tell the stories of those who are oppressed and misrepresented in society. The stories being told on stage and being brought to life by a variety of actors can connect with the audience and stick with them. 

According to an article from Psychology Today, live theatrical performances can engage sensory in the human body, not just from a visual aspect. It can engage our thinking, and our perception of how one speaks and acts. Most importantly, when watching these sorts of stories, it encourages the way we feel empathy. Empathy is a sacred emotion, used to build our relationships with family, friends, and others, and when we learn to deepen this emotion, it will make us more understanding of the situations people face in the world around us.

Overall, theater matters because it helps define what makes us human. Along with introducing us to the stories of others, it encourages us to realize and empathize with their struggles. Experiencing the emotions of characters through the stage could help us become a little more human, even if the characters are nothing but fiction.

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