Everyone likes a good film, right? Maybe your thing is catching up on the latest Hollywood summer blockbusters, complete with plenty of explosions, or maybe you have a different niche you’re into. Artsy dramas that explore the deep nuances of the human condition, maybe? Or how about irreverent comedies to help you put aside any melancholy or frustration you might currently be experiencing in your life?
But while visiting the cinema can be a fun and even moving way of spending an evening — either alone, with a special someone, or with your friends — there’s one, too-often overlooked form of recreation that the cinema owes everything to, which you should seriously consider looking into.
That is, of course, the theater — aka, the “old-school” cinema, or cinema 1.0, if you like,
Whether you’ve never really considered visiting the theater, or whether you’re a fan at heart but keep getting distracted and never making it down to see those plays that seem the most interesting to you — here are some reasons why you should really go to the theater for a day (or night) out and give the movies a miss for once.
The theater gives you a more realistic “fly-on-the-wall” perspective
Films and TV shows can be great, but if you think about your perspective as a viewer, you’ve got to admit that it’s a bit of a weird and unrealistic position you’re put in.
At one moment, you’re watching the characters from a long-distance, far-off shot. The next moment the camera is up-close and shaking around violently during an action scene. The camera pans out into an artsy shot that takes in a dusty road. Or it cuts away to the sky.
Needless to say, this isn’t how you actually perceive the world as a human being. Instead, you see everything from a “fixed” perspective, until you move, and you have the option of focusing on specific details in a scene, yourself, as the mood takes you.
All this is to say that the theater gives you a much more realistic “fly-on-the-wall” perspective which can help to make the experience seem far more vivid, visceral, and immersive — even if this might seem to be a counter-intuitive point at first.
Nonetheless, viewing things from a fixed, “real-life spectator” position makes you feel less like someone being exposed to an array of fancy camera tricks, and more like someone who is an actual “fly on the wall” during some fantastical sequence of events.
The theater makes you use your imagination more
In a film, there are many different ways — an almost unlimited number, in fact — in which the director and crew can present different visual themes in vivid detail that leave little, if anything, to the imagination.
CGI alone means that pretty much nothing is “undoable” if the budget is high enough.
Plays in the theater, however, work differently. Although all kinds of fancy sets, props, and technologies will frequently be employed for visual effect, there are practical limits which mean that your imagination has to fill in a lot more of the “blanks”.
During a battle scene, for example, there might be five people on stage, but you’re meant to get the sense of there being thousands.
Not only does this mean that the scriptwriters, actors, set designers, etc. Have to be very artful and subtle in their craft, but it also means that you, the viewer, will have more of a role in “creating” the world of the play. Needless to say, your imagination is a very powerful tool.
The theater is home to some great classics
Hollywood has its great classics, and so too does the theater, and the classics from each world rarely carry across particularly well, or convincingly, to the other medium.
It’s likely that, by the time you reach adulthood, you’ve probably seen most of the big classics of film, but it’s entirely possible that you’ve never seen one of the dynamic smash hits of the stage performed in all its glory.
Yet classics like Phantom of the Opera are genre-defining and can leave at least as much of a dramatic impact on you as the best works of the silver screen.
For that matter, check out Kinky Boots or The Book of Mormon, and you’ll see that the theater brags some great comedies, as well as great dramas. Then again, you could go all the way back in time and see a Shakespearean classic being acted out live.
Whatever your entertainment preferences, the theater boasts some amazing masterpieces.