My thoughts on classic and modern musical theater and plays
In Tampa there is a theater called the Straz Center, and it is where most of the professional theater companies perform in the Tampa Bay area. Probably about once or twice a month, me and my friend Domonic will get all gussied up and go see whatever musical or play is being staged.
My thoughts, or should I say appreciation, for theater has shifted greatly in the past couple of months. This is all because I joined an expository writing class that allowed me to research any topic I wanted, and I chose the history of musical theater.
Musicals have always been a passion of mine, but it wasn’t until I started doing the research that I noticed I was taking the artistry for granted. It had never occurred to me the origin of all the themes that are still used in theater today.
For example, the Romans developed the rhetoric and archetypes that are still used to this very day. And it wasn’t until I went to see Pippin the musical that I started to notice all the archetypes that the Romans invented centuries ago. Characters like the stern mother, the brawny idiot, the sweet-tempered love interest, etc.
It is so fascinating to me to think about the things that have changed and the things that have actually stood the test of time. I think a lot of it has to do with technology and how far we’ve progressed in that category. Before the common era, characters would have to use theatrical devices to attract the audiences attention. and they would constantly have to be projecting their voices so people could hear them all the way in the back of the amphitheater. now we have spotlights to attract the audience’s attention and we have microphones to amplify the actor’s voices. so not only is the entertainment more enjoyable for the guests, it’s way easier for the actors to perform and for them to evoke emotion; they don’t have to rely so heavily on dramatics.
Theater is meant to be an experience. It is unlike going to a movie, hearing a lecture or going to a concert. It is unlike going to see football or some other sport. It is unlike watching your television or playing a video game. It is a unique experience and it’s only getting better. With playwrights becoming more and more competitive, shows are having to get more creative and inventive. I also believe that theater is getting a type of exposure that has been unprecedented in the past. With traveling shows, social media, and award shows, theater is an art form that is not only here to stay, but it is an art that will continue to evolve.