Thoughts on Theatre: An Introduction

Here is my goal: I have been teaching Intro to Theatre-type classes since 1994, at a variety of colleges and universities over the years. I have noticed that there is always a difference, indeed sometimes a big difference, in the type of information in any given textbook and the common sort of questions I often hear from students in the classroom. So, I plan to use this space over the next few months to document some of these student-inspired questions and provide concise answers. In the spirit of this modern digital age and its accompanying 21st century attention spans, I plan to keep each answer initially to 300 words. Let me say now, of course I know that the world of the theatre, its art, its history, its literature, is so vast, and so rich, it seems nearly an insult to give such limited answers. To be sure, the brief thoughts that accompany each answer are meant as a beginning, to stimulate and get the conversation started. Of course, they are neither exhaustive nor isolated. This blog will be a chance for people to put their toes in the shallow end of the pool. Hopefully that will make a swim seem more enticing.

By way of introduction, I have compiled a list of some of the questions I intend to cover. These include:

* A social art form, working with people, real life love and drama

*More than just acting, backstage artists and careers

*How do you make theatre (and life in general) more adventurous, engrossing and entertaining than the hyper-real and increasingly intricate video games that compete for their time and attention.

*How have the value and nature of live performing arts (theater, concerts, etc.) changed now that the internet has dramatically proliferated and devalued prefabricated performing arts (CDs, movies, etc.)?

*How do you find the right balance in characterization between author, director, actor, and audience?

*Do artists live life in poverty. How can you afford to pursue your passion without accepting compromises in quality of work? I.e. Not taking on roles (in whatever sector of the arts) that you feel shit about taking, but have to to pay the rent).

*The undefined energy between live performance and audience experience.

**Liveness and the comparison between hearing a live recording of a band vs seeing them in concert.

*Masks, in theatre and daily life, social drama

*Theatre skills applied to other professions or aspects of life

*How studying theatre can benefit you

*Will it make me rich and famous

*The 4th wall and how to break it

*Collaboration and discipline

*Why do we still believe in theatre/does theatre matter

*Emotion, emoting, pretending

*How do you get to Broadway?

This is only installment #1, and this list is only a beginning. I welcome any feedback, as well as other questions someone might like answered.