Does live theater offer something that television and movies don’t?

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Celeste Allanach

Everyone has their preferred way to entertain themselves. Whether it be watching movies, television, reading books, or going to the theater, all of these forms of entertainment take their audience to another world. But does live theater offer something the others don’t? 

Theater can be something magical. It can create a warming and lively experience for an audience. A live performance can offer an environment that movies or television just can’t. Junior Isabella Slyman, an actress and theater enthusiast, stated that “live theatre provides the audience with an all immersive experience while providing performers with an opportunity to challenge themselves in a completely new way. Theatre feeds off of energy. It has a culture. It is an experience, and not something that can be duplicated.” The energy of the audience radiates off of the actors and vice versa. 

Not only does the energy of the audience thrive in live theater, but the storyline and characters flourish. Everything live has to be elevated in order to communicate with the audience. Sophomore and actress Ella Allen said that “going to a live production immerses you into the storyline and the character exponentially more.” The audience can connect with the storyline and characters more if it’s presented live. 

Live theater doesn’t just offer something for an audience, but for actors as well. It can be said that not every actor can do live theater. There is a whole new element that comes with performing something live and in person. The actor is presenting themselves in front of an audience who could make or break them. One wrong step and the audience could pass a judgement on an actor so quickly. “There is a whole new level of pressure put on the performers as they can’t show that they messed up. They have to be extremely focused” sophomore and actress Jesse Martin commented. So what is the exact difference between acting on stage and acting in front of a camera?

Well, for starters, when acting in front of a camera, the actor can mess up and try again. The actor does not have to cover up the error, but can simply adjust and try again. In theater, the actor is in the moment. They must perform the piece a similar way every time. If they mess up, they must cover it up in some way. Junior and stage crew member Alexandra Broadhurst commented, “There is no going back if you mess up in live theater. You have to be 100% at all times.” Actors who are engaging in live theater must give all their energy every performance. 

So what does theater offer that television or movies can’t? An experience. Theater provides an engaging experience for the audience and the actors. Immersing oneself in a production is truly a one in a lifetime experience. High schoolers who involve themselves in theater thrive in what they can call a home. For the audience, it’s an experience. For an actor, it’s a culture.