Unlike Mc-film, a prepackaged treat of controlled volatility and ‘emotion’, the theater supplies a real experience. It calls on the imagination, one of our most under utilized muscles. Underratedly, theater requires our attention as well- our real, unwavering, chances-are-you-won’t-be-able-to-handle-it-because-you’re-already-too-deep-into-the-social-network-tech-media-instant-satisfaction-rabbit-hole type of attention. The theater is a chance to challenge yourself. To sit in a comfortable chair and not lose yourself in the spoon-fed, seemingly intellectual but surprisingly accessible monologues of most box office hits.
Theatrical monologues are shouted and spat, rolled off the tongue, whispered and gestured. They require dedication from the audience during the performance, and dissection by the audience thereafter. Bolstering this onslaught of heady verbiage and up-close emotion, is the fact that no matter what the production quality, from Broadway to off-off Broadway, the feeling that something can go wrong at any time, the live action, the potential for failure to deliver a scene as intended, is intoxicating. Sustained anticipatory schadenfreude.
Yes, there is a notable difference in price between movie theaters and theater theaters. If you are a bit crafty, you can snatch lower priced ($20-$40) tickets. Again, this is putting more effort into an event, something that goes a long way to develop you as a person. If you are truly strapped, wait until that next 3-D blockbuster goes to DVD, and voila! You will have the cash for a ticket to live theater. At the very least, understand that you spent a pretty penny on this event, and if for that reason alone, work to get the most out of every performance.
No, musicals do not count. Seriously. Not one. Zero.
(Exception: Paul Simon’s under-acclaimed 1998 classic The Capeman)