Theater is Still Important Despite Television

Theater is Still Important Despite Television

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Theater is Still Important Despite Television

- Tonight in America, approximately 5.5 million will attend a movie,
- more than 40 million will listen to the radio and
- more than 150 million will turn on their tvs,
- while fewer than 100, 000 will attend the theater
- Theater has had great influence on society for over 2500 years
- unlike tv and motion picture which hasn’t sprung up til this century
- although, tv, radio and movies have added a lot to the world of entertainment
- they are based on theater in some way or another
- Theater was the first form of real entertainment

- First established theater- theater if the greeks
- performances were based on religion and the worship of gods
- at first, playwrights acted in their own plays but prof. Actors soon took over the stage
- actor had to have a powerful voice and the ability to to play many diff. Roles b/c there were only 3 actors and the audience had to be able to differentiate b/w the characters
- Roman theater- greatly influenced by greeks
- Actors never aquired the the respect of the greek actor
- Plays – comedies dealing with everyday situations and social conflicts
- collapsed with the fall of Roman empire
- by 400bc , roman theater was lost only to be rediscovered
- After the collapse of the roman empire, society- structured around the church
- Theater slowly returned in the form of miracle and mystery plays- performed in churches
- stories form the bible – acted out by priests
- later moved to the streets were prof actors took over
- not produced with entertainment in mind- did a lot to rediscover theater
- Medieval drama continued to be produced into the 16th century, but the renaissance brought a new theater into being, one that would dominate until the 20th century
- With william shakespeare’s, the Globe, and many other famous theaters, london became a bustling theater town
- Not since the greeks had the theater reached such heights
- Theater was once again a popular form of art to society
- In 1660, the french introduced a more sophisticated use of scenery and staging techniques

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- Also introduced more natural acting.. actors had to identify w/ the actors they were portraying
- However it wasn’t until the 19th century with the intro of gas lights and elect. Did the creation of realistic effects and scenery come to be
- As the 19th century came to a close, th e20th century promised a richness that had never been present in thr history of theater
- In the erly part of th ecentury, theater styles were very defined. Today plays can be combinations of styles to communicate th emeaning of the play.
- Diff styles:
- Realism- attempts to show life as it really is
- Romanticism- romantic view of th e world
- Symbolists- presented the world of the spirit
- Expressionism- world is seen thru a central character
- Musical comedy a prodct of 20th century
- Often said to be america’s contribution to theater
- possibly one o fth emost popular forms of theater
- Audiences ar ealso diverse (like the diff stlyles)
- Continues to draw a broad spectrum of society
- Broadway, off- broadway, and off- off broadway are flourishing along with summer stock and unniversity theaters

- In our area, broadway is by far the most popular
- Box office statistics tell only a part of what th etheater means to NYC
- With well dressed crowds hopping out of taxis, walking down the sidewalks and into the theaters and then chasing cabs afer the last applause
- Gives NYC sophistication, spontenaity and animation, that even movie premiers, even at their most elaborate in hollywood, cannotr capture with spotlights and velvet robes

- However the decline in broadway theater in the 1920s is blamed on the beginning of movies
- since most plays were mediocre or worse, they offered little competition to movies
- The Great Depression also added to the decline
- WWII gave theater a boost with so much money to spend, but afterward it was hurt by tv and rising production costs that could not be met by increasingticket prices
- The major thetaers remaining in NY, particularly in times square, represent only about half the number in the 1920s

- Once up to 11.6 million in 1984, attendence was down to 8.1 million in1994.
- Broadway’s role in the realm of drama was quickly fading
- The concept that broadway was the national american theater was losing credibility
- the best work was being done off broadway , whether in NY or other cities
- Audiences did not want to pay the stiff prices of broadway

- Off- broadway was however was alive w/ productivity.
- having sprung up since the 1950s in lofts , garages and churches- seat fewer than 300
- one of the most popular- stomp---which attracted a very you ng audience-
- gorup of youth making rythmic noises with a varity o fprops including wood siticks an garbage cans
- Summer theater , aka smmerstock- also competition 4 broadway
- Staged during the summer months—often hits if the previous year or experimental palys
- today there are more than 300 summer theaters I the US
- plays in the park--- edison, nj new play Is offeres every week
- outside theater stage is located at bottom of hill- audience brings chairs and blankets and sits on lawn
- More importantly .. some of these theaters have become year round thater, providing more competition for NY

- Basically Broadway was left to a theater of musicals
- at least these were popular
- from the longest running broadway show, Cats opened in 1982, to the newest Sound of Music, musicals attracted record audiences

- To keep up with the competition of these off broadway plays and especially tv and movies,
- NY is doing whatever they can to get broadway back to what it used to be
- Despite its major financial difficulties, the city spends mote than 1million a year on performing arts in order to keep up with these other forms of entertainment

- Theater has changed a lot and evolved overtime, but one thing has not changed since the 1st production in 534 BC – the purpose o ftheater was and always willl be to entertain.

- Because of its long and outstanding history, theater seems destined to live on for another few thousand years as long as we support it

- I realize it is so much easier to turn on the tv or pop in a movie, but one day when you’re bored you should drive or take a train into the city and enjoy a show on broadway
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