A Theatre: Past And Present Essay

1709 words - 7 pages

A THETRE: PAST AND PRESENTIn this essay I am going to compare 'The Deadly Theatre', a chapter from the Peter Brook's book 'The Empty Space', with one of the Shakespeare's plays 'The Taming of the Shrew'. My aim is to show how theatre and the influence of theatre have changed over time and establish an audience's role during that process. Also, I am going to mention Shakespeare's influence on the theatre and the methods he used. So, the main topic of this essay is theatre. What is theatre? What do we need to have a good theatre today?The most interesting and also quite a motivating claim from 'The Deadly Theatre' to me are its first sentences: 'I CAN take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged.' It means, we do not need special place and incredible people to make something big. All we need is a strong will and we have to try hard. If we do, everything is possible. But, the rest of the chapter is not so positive. Actually, it has a negative view of the theatre today. We can clearly see that from these sentences: 'The condition of the Deadly Theatre at least is fairly obvious. All through the world theatre audiences are dwindling. There are occasional new movements, good new writers and so on, but as a whole, the theatre not only fails to elevate or instruct, it hardly even entertains. The theatre has often been called a whore, meaning its art is impure, but today this is true in another sense - whores take the money and then go short on the pleasure.' An important thing can be read between the lines of this quote. The theatre does not entertain people anymore, which was its main purpose for centuries. There are some new, good ideas, talented writers and actors but it does not change the situation. Why? Because today, like metaphor implied, everything revolves around the money - quality of the play depends on amount of money invested in it, not on the talent of the crew and the time spent making it.Although theatre still has its faithful audience around the world, the number of people who decide to visit the theatre for fun is decreasing because they find it risky to pay a lot of money for today's plays, which does not mean they do not have it. The Press also has a big influence these days. It can make a masterpiece from nothing, but also it can ruin a great piece of work. Peter Brook's experience confirms it: 'I had a closely related experience when we put on John Arden's 'Sergeant Musgrave's Dance' in Paris at the 'Athenee'. It was a true flop - almost all the Press was bad - and we were playing to virtually empty house. Convinced that the play had an audience somewhere in the town, we announced that we would give three free performances. Such was the lure of complimentary tickets that they became like wild premieres. Crowds fought to get in, the police had to draw iron grilles across the foyer, and the...

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