Ten Reasons to Go to a Play and Support Local Theatre
“The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life.”
— Oscar Wilde, 1891
It has been said that the theatre dies every night, only to be reborn each day, for it exists whenever actors perform before an audience. Therefore a primary characteristic of theatre is its ephemeral nature. Theatre historian Oscar G. Brockett emphasized that after a performance has ended, it cannot be precisely recaptured. The theatre exists in those moments when the audience sees the performance. Then it is gone and lives only in the memories of those who saw it. Yes, there are physical artifacts—the programs, the reviews, the script, the photographs—but they are not the same. As one of the Arts, theatre is quite powerful in its effect. Why? Because living people perform scenes that interpret humanity’s experience just as though it were happening at that very moment—all while an audience watches. In this way, the theatre approximates life as it is felt and lived moment by moment.
Colorado Springs is fortunate to have many theatre groups that present outstanding productions regularly. The Fine Arts Center Theatre Company is well known and highly regarded for its consistently superb productions. As a long-time subscriber to its theatre season main stage productions, I readily and wholeheartedly attest to its reputation for true excellence. In an interview, Scott RC Levy, Producing Artistic Director of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company, enthusiastically shared his thoughts on why we should go to a play and support the local theatre community.
1. There is nothing at all like the shared experience of human beings in an audience spontaneously reacting to a live production.
2. Watching a play gives us the opportunity to be able to see ourselves. Theatre holds up a mirror to society.
3. Theatre is a living art form, constantly growing and changing. Playwrights are continually writing new works. Local theatre embraces the challenge of developing and producing these new works as well as celebrating familiar, favorite plays, some dating back to the ancient Greeks. In this way, local theatre functions as a guide for the next generation.
4. The mission of local theatre groups is to present as diverse a season as possible to meet the needs and expand the horizons of our community. Approximately only one per cent of the Colorado Springs population attends local theatre productions. We need to greatly increase that percentage and expand the horizons of many more members of our community.
5. The beauty and appeal of theatre is its uniquely collaborative nature as an art form. Theatre comprises the mutual and interdependent working of the various arts in myriad forms, including acting, blocking, directing, singing, dancing, music, set design, costume design, lighting, sound effects, visual effects, and props.
6. Putting on and watching a play: we can do it anywhere at any time, with or without a production budget.
7. A really good reason for becoming involved in local theatre—the collaboration and cooperation in training in the various associated Arts—helps you to develop cognitive skills so you can solve problems in new ways. Also, as an audience member, you are given the opportunity to form a bridge between your own values and the ideas and attitudes that have meaning for you which are presented in the plays. It is gratifying when you find relevance to yourself in various plays and in the theatre in general. This validated relevancy and new forged connections can also help you to solve problems in new ways.
8. Going to see a play is about family. Theatre gives new meaning to the notion of family. Everybody acting on stage, the musicians, the director, the technical staff—all the theatre staff for a specific production—form a unique family for a certain period of time. They all think of themselves as being in this family. It becomes a part of their identity. They care for and look after each other. After this play ends its run, many of these people will then be involved in another play together. But this will be a new, different family, also unique. The sense of family is clearly present for each production. Also significant is that the audience is a type of family. Each audience is different and forms its own unique family. These families are based on common goals, shared emotions, and connection. When you are in the audience, you can truly feel this connection. The ultimate connection is, of course, the one created by the connection of the people on stage with the people in the audience. Each play, performance, audience, connection—each is different, yet within each is a sense of family. Yes. Sparks do fly!
9. What better opportunity is there for us to see a stage completely transformed, and then, while we watch, to have an actual emotional experience and a significant, palpable response? Such an opportunity will truly broaden our horizons.
10. Theatre—every play—deals with the basic aspects of our lives that we are constantly trying to understand. Going to a play can help us relax, have fun, be shocked, become upset, or ponder a serious issue. Most of all, theatre helps us to better understand ourselves and our world.
The time is now! Go to a play and support the local theatre community.