As one of the oldest forms of performance, theatre has been awakening and exploring the human heart from ancient Greek times to the present day.
The word “theatre” is derived from the Greek word meaning “place of seeing”, meaning that theatre is used to enable people to see the truth about life and social conditions. Since 1962, World Theatre Day has been initiated by the International Theatre Institute and will be celebrated for the 61st anniversary next Monday, March 27.
The most attractive aspect of theatre is that it provokes people to reflect on themselves and on social issues. Drama is also a way for us to experience seeing something from a different perspective. Through dialogue, monologues, or characters, we have the opportunity to feel the connection to our innermost emotions or the buried conscience of human nature. In other words, drama allows us to see human nature.
Similarities and differences between theatre and film
Like a film, the audience sits in a dark environment and turns their attention to the actors. In this passive way, however, the audience’s imagination is activated. Drama is a process of sensory enjoyment.
The difference between theatre and film is that the performance of theatre requires the actors to play themselves more rigorously and precisely. They can’t afford to make a mistake, there is no replay! This is the ultimate performance of a performer’s theatrical career. In addition, when we see real people on stage, it makes it easier for us to feel compassion, especially if the story is about the lower class or some weak minority, it makes the audience empathise with more social issues.
Theatre can inspire thoughts
Adding theatre training to a child or youth’s education helps them explore multiple dimensions of thinking. They can identify the identities and dialogue of different characters and think about how the storyline could develop. Whether it’s Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” or Disney’s “The Lion King,” these wild stories always inspire young people to think creatively.
Theatre combines many art forms: literature, music, costumes, stage design, choreography, etc., and is a crystallised, living product of many arts. As Samiha Ayoub, a veteran theatre professional who was invited to write the message of International Theatre Day, said,
“What we do in the world of theatre as playwrights, directors, actors, scenographers, poets, musicians, choreographers and technicians, all of us without exception, is an act of creating life that did not exist before we got on stage. This life deserves a caring hand that holds it, a loving chest that embraces it, a kind heart that sympathises with it, and a sober mind that provides it with the reasons it needs to continue and survive.”
Ayoub cares so much about the “life” of theatre because she understands the exhausted state of theatre in the face of today’s technological development. Walking into a theatre to see a performance may not be as good as sitting on a couch and watching a movie. That’s why she must emphasise the life that happens on stage, which is irreplaceable.
Theater as the ultimate expression of a city’s culture
Theatre performance is also regarded as the ultimate expression of a city’s and a country’s culture. I remember that when I first visited New York, I bought a few tickets with my friends to see the then very popular contemporary musical “Chicago”. The excitement and absurdity of the play became one of my impressions of this place. The stage show that was shown in New York City, the performers were chosen by many and the storyline was so exciting that it made the audience’s blood boil. The high ticket price is to see the life of the actors and actresses giving their best in this time of life.
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◢ Elva Lai 喜歡藝術創作、閱讀、旅行、行山和早上泡一杯咖啡。
✍🏼 Write + Create
◢ Elva Lai enjoys creating art, reading, travelling, hiking and making a cup of coffee in the morning. She received her education in Singapore, the United States, Germany and Hong Kong.