Why Does Theatre Survive Essay

1295 words - 5 pages

Why does theatre survive? 3rd term acting studies essay by Ralph Gassmann "All the world?s a stage?" to quote the world?s most famous playwright William Shakespeare who rose to prominence in the 16th century during the reign of Elizabeth I, and who?s plays have excited and obsessed the generations since and will doubtless continue to do so as we approach the 2nd millennium. On this stage the actor represents the symbol of man with all his imperfection and weakness, with all his morals and ideals.Theatre provides us with a mirror of the society within which we live in and where the conflicts we experience in life are acted out on stage before us. In the space of a few hours, we participate in a story where the facets of life unfold before our eyes and anything can happen, be it tragic, serious or hilarious! On the stage real people take on characters and we can identify with the emotions and actions as they happen and share the experience in real time. When this miracle occurs, when the audience and those on stage breathe a exactly the same time, there is a unique feeling of a fulfilled desire, which transforms the theatre into an immortal place: a combination of ecstasy and empathy for the human experience -- an inspiring event! Another fact which provides the survival of the art form of theatre lies in the very nature of mankind: its inner voyeuristic drive. The desire to watch other people dealing with their conflicts and fates challenges as well as reinforces values and the morality of society. As human beings we are learning by examples from others and our own experiences. What better place therefore than the theatre to form for ourselves an idea of life and its consequences? An inviting and exciting opportunity to watch believable stories and situations as they could happen in real life, showing us a bit better the truth of our nature. Even children can be seen to be acting out stories and learn from the consequences of their actions: The hero survives and the baddy dies! Apart from being philosophical and educational it can be also very entertaining. And so is the theatre: If comedy is the form in which we see the weakness and faults of others and accept them, then tragedy is the form in which we see ourselves and hopefully try to change. In both forms, we learn in an entertaining way something of the road to survival - in comedy we learn compromise, and in tragedy we learn what happens when there is no space for compromise.But it is not only the form, it is also the artists who create the form, artists with extraordinary energy without which there would be not any theatre. All actors strive naturally for fame, and applause is the recognition they receive for a job well done. However the true actor is a person who is possessed by the basic need to act, whatever the role, be it Hamlet or a tramp in the street. This need is an intrinsic part of his/her personality, an inborn urge and desire - and the courage - to become, for that brief moment...

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