Hello everybody, and welcome back to Common Culture. Today’s blog post is going to stray from pop culture a bit and go straight at “culture.” Theatre, particularly. As a theatre major, I am always interested in theatre’s place in modern culture and how it’s growing and progressing. And, in my opinion, the technological age has not been kind to this art form.
In theory, it makes sense that theatre may seem less accessible to people. We live in an age where communication with others is a click or tap away; entertainment, too. Everything we could need is essentially available within the walls of our rooms, provided we have a phone, a charger and a bucket to pee in. If we truly wanted to, we could lock ourselves in, have food delivered to our doors, watch movies all day forever and die after years of glassy-eyed screen tapping; we could.
However, I don’t think anyone wants to live that way. No sane person objects to a good night of entertainment, of connection, of communication, and of involvement every once in a while. And theatre offers all of those things. For the price of a ticket, an audience member can connect with a bunch of other strangers for one unique experience, happening only once ever, that only this one particular group people can live through. And after an hour and a half of laughs or tears, you leave the theatre and consider what you watched. You think about what was said. You think of how it applies to you. And for that glorious ten or fifteen or twenty minute drive home, you feel like you can rule the world. You feel like you can take that post-theatre-high to bed with you and wake up the next morning a better person. And in my opinion, you can. I’ve been made a better person plenty of times in my life after every play or musical I’ve ever seen. There’s something about the raw, live energy of a play that gets into your heart and makes living seem a little less hard for a while.
You can’t get that from a movie, or Facebook, or homework, or a nap. Not that those things aren’t important or valid or perfectly fine, but there’s a reason we’ve been doing theatre for centuries upon centuries. Because sometimes we need to get out and we need to feel something.
The theatre people who put these shows together know this. They know this and believe in this so wholeheartedly that they dedicate their lives – their time, their energy, their effort—into putting these shows up months before you even know they’ll be running. The night you come into the theatre, the actors and crew around you have been rehearsing for this very moment for months, slaving and working and crying and pounding our heads against a wall. For you. For the hour or two of straight emotion we hope you feel.
The thing is, if we don’t have an audience, there’s no experience. There’s no payoff. While many of you may work for months on a paper and feel that satisfaction when you receive a good grade; we wait for you to walk into our world and experience what we painstakingly set up for you. This is our test. This is our term paper. This is our presentation. This is what we’ve got. And all we want is to share it.
I promise you that you will lose nothing by taking some time out of your life to see some live theatre. It will make you better, make you smarter. It will make you more cultured and more open. Only good things come from seeing plays, and only you coming to see plays allow us to make more.
So please—if you’ve got a free night and a few bucks to spare, grab a friend or a date and catch a play. Boise has plays going on all the time, put on by extremely dedicated and talented people. The Boise State Theatre Department and the Theatre Majors’ Association are also always ready to share our stories with you. I encourage you to take us up on the offer and come with us on a ride soon.