Just Saying . . .: Let’s Go to a Play
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 4:39 PM
Have you considered going to a play in recent decades? Would you get strange looks suddenly saying to your spouse, “Dear, I think tomorrow night we should dress up, go to an early dinner and then take in a play”? Enhancing the silence, you could give it a moment and then add, “I’m buying,” just to punctuate the unexpected.
Send performance reviews or just contact the author by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2017, Tom Sadowski
In case you missed it, the ever-essential World Theater Day came on March 27th, but it’s hard to compete with the Ides of March, National Prooofreading Day and Saint Patrick. Now that the March Madness is officially over, it’s time to consider the theater for entertainment.
Sometimes we develop cultural inertia, when a body at rest tends to stay at rest, which conjures up dozing off in a comfortable hammock. But it also means that a body stagnated tends to stay stagnant. Life is short. Maybe we should take that familiar advice and get out more often; expand our experiences. After all, when we get a better worldview, meet other people, and do different things, it’s easier to see which politicians are forthright and which are mendacious.
Mendacious? Now there’s a term I haven’t used since padding high school essays with ten-dollar words. I had to look it up to be sure, but it’s used to describe people who are untruthful or habitually dishonest, telling lies at every turn. It’s a great word that should be employed more often. It allows you to retain a measure of civility by calling someone out as mendacious instead of just labeling them as liars; an important skill in today’s political climate.
Anyway, most of us have our routines: we may go to a movie but not a concert, to a sports event but not an art opening. I even know people who would opt for a pub crawl over a museum tour. True, a few of us have legitimate excuses. There’s Aunt Etna, who compromises her safety every time she steps out of the house, upsetting the witness-protection people, and of course Uncle Frank can’t go anywhere with his ankle bracelet. Most people, however, are free to experience the theater, yet the closest we come to live performance is attending church. It’s time to mix it up and see what the theater has to offer.
A theatrical play is a unique form of entertainment. They don’t call it drama for nothing. Oh sure, there may be a good measure of drama written into the script, but the real drama is in the performance: it’s a demanding, complex dance that is planned out to the smallest detail. When everything goes right, you get the value of a well-told story as memorable as it is moving. However, when things go wrong, you not only get partial value of the story, you get a whole new, original story that unfolds in front of you in real time as the actors and technicians try to keep the performance train on track, squirming under the hot light hoping that there is not a complete derailment. It’s not often that you’re treated to a train wreck, but if you are, sit back and enjoy every minute, relaxing in the knowledge that you aren’t on the train but lucky to have a front-row seat.
Think of a play as a NASCAR event. Sure, people go to see the cars and feel the rumble of the race, but the unspoken attraction is really the crashes where the hero emerges unscathed as man triumphs over machine. Granted, chances of getting hit by a rogue tire are minimal in a theater, but a few patrons have been struck by pieces of the set and although the probability is woefully low, it’s an exciting risk that you have to allow.
Movies are great for telling stories but nothing’s going to happen that hasn’t happened in all the previous and subsequent performances. The main character won’t miss a cue, the props will always be handy, and if a door is supposed to open, it will open. We are fascinated by movie blooper reels because it’s so amusing to see things go wrong. The theater makes no blooper reels. It’s all right out in front of you.
So what say we meet at the theater this month and see what happens? If I get knocked unconscious by a set falling off the stage and you get to me first, the flask will be in my jacket breast pocket. Enjoy.