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kalafatic's avatar

Why should I go to the theatre?

Asked by kalafatic (143 points ) August 15th, 2009

With all the choices at the movie theatre and the lower ticket prices, unless I know someone in the cast or I am trying to impress a date, why should I go see a play and not a movie?

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29 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

Because nothing beats a live performance.

Quagmire's avatar

Why might you go see Michael Jackson live (assuming he WAS) instead of the movie about to come out of his last live performance?

Answer THIS question and you’ll know if you should or not.

Quagmire's avatar

BTW, what movies do YOU go to that have LOWER ticket prices???

kruger_d's avatar

It is a different animal. If it’s done right there is a kind of energy that to me is more powerful than a movie. I tend to be more easily moved to emotion. I find that I spend a lot more time after discussing a play with a friend than I do a movie. Let me recommend One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as and excellent play made into an extraordinary movie.

Dog's avatar

In the theater you witness the play come to life- living and breathing in front of you.

dalepetrie's avatar

You either enjoy live theater or you don’t. I can’t convince you it’s a good idea to go instead of to the movies if you personally find movies more entertaining. For me, I occasionally like to see a dramatic work staged live…for one thing it’s a different show than what’s playing at the theater, for another I can enjoy the more intimate atmosphere, for another I can more greatly appreciate the actors’ craft…in a movie there can be dozens of takes, the best of which are pasted together…there’s something quite admirable about the ability to sing and dance and maintain a character, recite lines, perform certain actions on cue, etc. that you just don’t get from a movie. Also, in a movie, a lot can be done visually or with sound to move the story along, but there are inherent limits to a stage performance, and to be able to tell an engrossing story without a bunch of visual trickery is certainly of some appeal to me. And essentially, most broadway type productions which have made their way to the big screen just weren’t that engaging on film, and that’s because they weren’t WRITTEN for film, they were written for that intimate setting, so seeing them on the big screen really takes them out of contet and diminishes their impact.

I’d suggest that next time you’re trying to impress a date, you go to the theater and you’ll either understand completely why you were supposed to enjoy the experience or you won’t. Once you’ve experienced the difference between live theater and filmed theater, it will be just like the difference between buying a Harley vs. a Honda, if you have to ask you wouldn’t understand.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

It depends on your and your date’s interests, and the quality of the performance. A good movie beats bad theater hands down. On the other hand, theater has a craftsmanship and a performance level that film replaces with technological enhancement. There is no second takes in theater, no changes of location, minimal special effects, no computerized enhancements.

jamielynn2328's avatar

I personally would rather go see a live show any day than going to see a movie. I would pay twice as much. I wonder why go see movies? I wait till they come out on DVD and can buy them for less than it costs for my family to go to the movies. We have a dollar theater up the street though, where you can see movies that are in between the theater and DVD release. That’s not a bad deal.

MagsRags's avatar

With theater, every performance is at least a little bit different, and the audience is part of the energy. A theater audience that is tuned in and responsive boosts the actor’s performances to a whole other level that you can’t experience when it’s pre-recorded.

andrew's avatar

I think the big problem is that there is a lot more mediocre theater than there is mediocre film—if only because the scale of production is so much larger on a studio movie.

That said, if you can find a good show—it’s better than a movie can ever be.

marinelife's avatar

It’s a completely different medium from movies.

Live theatre is very intimate.

The stories are intense and circumscribed.

It is an ancient and timeless art form.

I remember all of my theatre experiences vividly. So many movies these days are forgettable.

syz's avatar

You’re comparing apples and oranges – they are two completely different experiences.

Darwin's avatar

Actually, I think there is a lot of mediocre film out these days, but unfortunately the audience seems to like it. Examples: GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, or Paul Blart, Mall Cop

However, a big difference between theater and film is that film makes it seamless: the tears are glycerin and sweat comes from a spray bottle. However, in theater it is real people crying real tears and working in front of you to mentally and physically become the character in the play.

I have acted in both movies and plays, and I find the play to be a much more intense experience. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy both, but it is a lot more work doing a play than a film.

andrew's avatar

@Darwin But GI Joe is a spectacle. That’s like comparing Tennessee Williams to Cirque du Soleil.

The problem is that in order to have a good chance of seeing some great acting in live theater, you need to go to a respectable venue—say, a LORT A or LORT B theater. Say you go to the Kirk Douglas—the smallest venue of Center Theater Group in LA. Tickets there cost a minimum of $20 (and that’s for bad seats)—still more than a movie ticket.

A much more fair comparison would be comparing live theater to independent film.

Why should you go to the theater? Because if you go to a good show—and there are amazing shows—it’s more captivating than a movie could ever be; that is, if you appreciate theatricality. That said, I’d rather see a show at Berkeley Rep than a movie any day.

Quagmire's avatar

If you have already experienced live theater, yet you are still asking this question, then you probably should not spend any more of your money on live theater.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

have you ever been to a play? live performances are completely, completely different from watching something on a screen.
also, most of the movies in theatres are not the same things you’d see at a play. so it’s basically comparing apples to…steak.

jeanmay's avatar

Theatre (I’m English) is like a temperamental lover. It can enthrall, captivate and engage your thoughts. It can melt you into the throes of ecstasy and leave you smiling despite yourself. It can incite you do feel, think and do things you never felt, thought or did before. It’s compelling, mysterious and enticing. It can make you believe in something, make you believe in yourself.

It can let you down and leave you hanging. It has the ability to bore you, render you comatose and apathetic. It can disappoint, dismay and appall. It can drop fag ash in the bed and steal all the covers. It’s rude, pretentious and annoying. It can disillusion you and destroy your self-esteem.

Theatre is terrifying and fantastic.

Although, the same could apply to other art forms.

kalafatic's avatar

Thanks, this was what I was looking for:)
@andrew you’re right the amt of crappy theatre out there is too high and that is part of the problem.
I am starting a theatre company and drowning in paperwork and red tape. I think I needed a shot in the arm and I appreciate the enthusiastic response.
@jennifermay that is a fantastic answer – I completely agree.

jeanmay's avatar

@kalafatic I’m so glad you agree. Good luck with the paperwork and red tape, or ‘break a leg’ I should say!

FB's avatar

In a theatre, where the story and the characters are alive in your presence, you are blissfully blessed simply by being there, as a member of an experience, in a moment that is known as a once in a lifetime occurrence. It will never ever happen again like that, ever again. And you were there. And you, will forever remain a part of that slice of history. It is indeed that monumental.

Bravo to you!

tramnineteen's avatar

I get more wrapped up in plays than I do movies. I also used to go to plays intoxicated by my little green friend and that was really something. Talk about suspension of disbelief. Also, you are supporting an industry that I imagine could use it.

Gundark's avatar

Live theater is in real 3D. Movies can’t touch that.

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ththththth's avatar

Being the eyre of some attention at times I find that the only real difference is the Audience medium. Either you know people in the industry or not. Simple! For one to be on stage for months at a time the most refreshing thing is the thrill of learning a new script as this is the launching pad for a hive of creative ideas to come to the fore of imagination (at least for me). If you rely on a fixed static object to supply all of your observer dietary needs then you are simply not receiving enough input from other sources of entertainment.

bea2345's avatar

kruger_d – If it’s done right there is a kind of energy: You’re exactly right. On Sunday I went to a performance by the National Sinfonia, a symphony orchestra composed entirely of local musicians, many still in high school. It may not have been the Boston Pops, but it had an energy, a liveliness, that you don’t get in a recording. Their rendition of Night on Bald Mountain was spot on.

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LondonChatterBox's avatar

Seeing a live performance can be so much better than watching a film. You can almost become a part of it! I love the theatre.

thespian's avatar

As an actor I agree with many of the comments here, especially those about the energy of the give-and-take between performer and audience. Another thing important to me is the human scale of live theatre. Regardless of the size of the venue (I’ve seen theatre from the big Broadway houses to theatre actually in someone’s house!) the characters are more accessible than the huge images on screen or tiny images on TV. That helps make the story so much more visceral. Best wishes on your endeavours!

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