Theater appreciation creates live connection

Theater may be a bit odd, but it is a unique art form and everyone should enjoy it.

Marc DeJager, Staff Writer

When I was a freshman, theater was the first extracurricular I really dedicated time to. I was cast in a Spring 2017 production, and I have been deeply involved ever since. I learned countless personal lessons throughout my time working in the department. I cannot thank the Theatre 21 community enough for the sense of belonging and purpose I gained from spending my free time working on theatrical productions. But, the point of this article is not to explain why I am involved in theater, it is to convince you why you should be. 


First off, going to see theatrical productions is fun. If you find yourself wondering why you should go to see a show, apply the same reasons used for going to see a movie in theaters. Both circumstances entail going and sitting somewhere for a few hours for the purpose of entertainment. Additionally, both forms of entertainment involve actual people performing at some point during the creative process. 

The extent and regularity of performing is, of course, far higher in a theatrical production. Although, the basic concept is the same. Seeing a story unfold live on stage has struck a chord deep in the human psyche throughout the history of civilization. We are naturally entertained by watching the self-same dramas we experience every day performed live in front of us.


But what is unique about theater as an art form? The live connection with a real audience that is renewed every night is something that a movie cannot compete with. As someone who has seen more than my share of both movies and plays, I can say definitively that the energy and excitement you gain from a live show cannot compare to a movie. Moreover, it takes far more effort and care to write a play than it does to write a movie script. 

This is because of one simple reason—the editing process. When you are making a movie, the actors show up for one day, shoot each scene maybe 20 times, then go home. Only then does the real work begin. Which takes are used, what music is added, which shots are chosen, all of these incredibly crucial decisions are made by the editor. There is almost no power in the hands of the performer, despite the fact that movie stars are better known in American culture than politicians. This leaves the real artists, the editors, without much recognition. 

Whereas in theater, everyone’s work—lighting designer, costumer, set designer, props master and actor—is on full display. The connections between actors are fresh and new every night, and there is a certain magic in the knowledge that the show will never have quite the same energy again. It will never again be performed in the same way by the same cast. When you watch a theatrical production, you are truly witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime piece of art.


Theater and theater programs seem to have gained a reputation for creating extremely close, quirky, even cultish communities amongst those who work in it. This is not unfair, as there are plenty of people in theater that may fit this stereotype. But, I would encourage you not to write off the art form entirely. 

There is always more to learn and more to experience, especially in entertainment, and I would encourage you to try something new, and enjoy an art form that has held a dear place in the hearts of humanity for all of history. So, take the time to see a play. Learn to enjoy theater, maybe even participate in a play. It is an excellent opportunity to meet people and learn to appreciate art. 

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