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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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