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Live Theater is Better Than Going to the Movies

King Lear on stage destroys your favorite movie-going experience
The+Broadway+production+of+Natasha%2C+Pierre%2C+and+the+Great+Comet+of+1812+was+lit%21
The Broadway production of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 was lit!

By now, you’ve probably read the headline, and I hear what you’re thinking: “Hasmik has finally gone over the edge! No one wants to sit through three hours of Shakespeare! Theater is boring! Hardy, har, har!” 

And like… yeah. But listen, okay? 

When most people think about theater, they think of sitting through a boring play for too long, or that terrible production of Guys and Dolls that their high school put on years ago. But when it’s done right, going to a live theatrical production is a far better experience than going to the movies.

There’s a certain feeling you get when you go to see a play, that you just can’t replicate when you’re watching a film. And this mostly comes from the fact that the actors are actually there in front of you. When you laugh, they wait for you to finish laughing. When they mess up, there are no retakes. 

It’s more intimate. It doesn’t feel like the actors are some unreachable gods that live in a magical land where everyone is super-ripped. 

Maybe this is going to stir some people up, but I’d also argue that a really good theatrical performance is more impressive than a really good cinematic one. Performing live theater requires an absurd amount of stamina, control, and talent. You have to give a performance that can be heard and understood by everyone, even those people sitting in the back of the theater, all while not “overdoing it” and killing your believability. 

As a stage actor, you have to consider all of this, and you only have one go at it! Why would you not want to support the people who are doing this?

And the cast is only a small part of it. When you go to see a movie, the action is happening in one place: on the screen in front of you. However, in a theater, the production is happening all around you. 

The lighting and the sound are being done live, and sometimes the direction calls for actors walking right out in front of your face. My favorite instance of audience immersion in a production is in the musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. (This also happens to be my favorite musical of all time, by the way!)

In this show, the stage is specifically built so that the audience can sit up there with the actors. The characters frequently involve the audience members in their antics. That’s something you just can’t get at the movies (even if you wait ten years for when we have, like, 12-D movie theaters or something).

And now you’re all like, “But, Hasmikkkk! Theater tickets are expensive! I can go see the 15th Fast and Furious movie for only twelve dollars!” 

And you’d be right. Professional productions are often ridiculously expensive, even if that price is necessary for the show to continue running. 

But there are plenty of ways that you can experience good live theater, without blowing a bunch of money to see a Broadway show. Especially here in Southern California, we have tons of community and professional theaters that sell their tickets for less than thirty dollars. Some of my favorites are A Noise Within, the Pasadena Playhouse, and the GCC Theater Department

And if you’re still hesitant, think about this: you’re paying to see a show that will literally never exist again outside of that night. Every single performance of a production is different from the last one. You will never hear the lines delivered in the exact same way, even if you go to every performance of the same production. 

There’s also the fact that even older plays and musicals can be reimagined decades after they first premiered in many different ways. Theater doesn’t die. 

There will always be a group of people who want to set Romeo and Juliet in the 1980’s, or make Oklahoma! just a tad bit darker. There will always be new, creative ways to spice up older works. This tradition is so vital to the very heart of the artform, that there are even categories at the Tony Awards for “Best Revival of a Play” and “Best Revival of a Musical”

Now, if the same movie is redone even once (I’m looking at you, Disney!) people tend to get annoyed. That’s not to say that you can’t redo old movies. It’s been done very well before. But it’s not part of the charm of the medium. 

If you want to rewatch an old movie that you like, you’re just going to rewatch that one, not the newer one, because you have an emotional connection to that specific film. That’s why, oftentimes, remaking an old movie is seen as a pointless cash grab. 

That’s not the case with redoing a classic play or musical. Reviving one requires a new, creative vision to take the original work in a new direction, which is what makes it so appealing.

To be sure, I love movies. Like, a lot. 

But I love live theater way more, and you should, too. 

So go see one now! Grab all your friends and skip the next movie in the MCU for a local theatrical production! 

And can I come?

About the Contributor
Hasmik Tumasyan, Staff Writer
Hasmik Tumasyan is a junior at Glendale High School. She is involved with the color guard, Creative Writing Club, and the cinema department on campus. She enjoys listening to music and playing Dungeons & Dragons. Come find her in the art quad at lunch for a fun argument or a tarot reading.
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