Why Does Theatre Matter? Recently Matt Slayer of Theatreforté declared March 19 International Value of Live Theatre Day (maybe change the name to World Theatre Daynext year?). The celebration? He has asked theatre bloggers around the globe to answer the question: What is the value of Live Theatre? A bit late, but here is our contribution to a great project:
Live theatre the only experience where we gather as a community to exercise our powers of empathy and compassion. Every live theatre experience, regardless of its quality, begins and ends with living, breathing human beings gathering to engage in an experience (however abstract) of another human being . Every actor on-stage, every member of the audience enters a theatre with a common commitment to connect (to the best of their ability) in a shared human experience. Our collective imaginations as artists and audience combine to consider what is beautiful or horrific in life, our best and worst traits, the comic and the tragic of being together on this earth. Where else as a society do we exercise our ability to feel for the experience of others in a collective way and on a truly human scale? Live theatre teaches our heart.
Regardless of where you live, what you earn, your level education, irrespective of age, gender, race, religion, politics, worldview or anything else, our ability to experience empathy and compassion is the greatest trait we have as human beings. Live theatre is the sole venue that truly exercises that most important quality.Broadway represents live theatre in its most commercial form, but even in grade school pageants, the core value is the same. We are better human beings when we have the ability to experience empathy and compassion for others. Empathy and compassion are complex qualities, but they are fundamental to creating a better life for all on this earth. Every live theatre performance enriches the quality of life for us all…even Cats!
Read more about this day and other posts on the always interesting Steve On Broadway blog. RENT photo by Joan Marcus.
-Christopher Moore, Broadway Magazine, Broadway.tv