Wednesday, February 02, 2005

St. Casserole Explains Distaste for Live Theater

I'm not fond of live theater. I don't like local plays or Broadway plays. This quirk upsets my friends who think live theater is great and makes them wonder if I have any sense at all.

I don't like live productions because I feel that I must respond to what's happening on stage. I don't enjoy watching live actors "pretend" to be someone else. When I realized why I don't like live theater, I thought it was because I don't like false behavior/words. Then I realized my dislike comes from feeling I must respond to what is happening on stage. Live actors are emoting and behaving so the audience must respond. I don't want to respond to false speech and behavior. I know I am quirky.

I watch TV and films without this problem as the actors cannot see me or feel my interest (or lack of interest). I don't hurt actors feelings when I ignore them or find them false.

I go to Manhattan each Fall for my Annual pilgrimage to the Shopping Mecca. This trip involves a Broadway show or two most years. Every year I hope to enjoy theater but it doesn't happen. Checking out a museum or talking with people interests me while sitting in a theater seat watching people pretend to be someone else doesn't interest me.

I know theater is important as entertainment, a safe way to explore emotions, a way of expressing political ideas etc. but I don't enjoy it.

Local theater drives me nuts so if you are local actor, please don't expect me to attend your production even though I think the world of you offstage. Even children's programs upset my nerves but I have to watch those to support my children who are learning to speak before an audience and participate in a group exercise.

Maybe preaching is the source of my problem. When I'm preaching, I can see you and read you through your facial expression, body position and my intuition. I know if you are listening to the sermon or making your grocery list. I'm not acting or being false. I'm doing my darndest to tell you the truth in a way I think you may be able to hear the truth. I expect some response from my listeners. Therefore, when I sit in a theater seat, I expect myself to give a response to the actors. I don't want to respond. You aren't being yourself. You aren't saying your own words.

Are you following me or have I moved up on your list of Quirkiest People You've Ever Heard Of?


the reverend mommy said...

Oooo, I love live theatre. Never thought of it the way you do. Wow.

PPB said...

I like live theatre, too, but your comments are interesting. David LaMotte (awesome singer) has a song where he sings" you know I ain't no television; I'm watching you while you're watching me..." and goes on to make the claim that because you came to see him sing live, it is interactive. He's responding to your facial reactions, etc. It's something you're doing together, not something he's doing for you. I love that in music.

In theatre, though, having been in a bunch of shows, I know that most of the actors really can't see the audience. I used to take my contacts out to ensure that. Audience response may egg an actor on, but not in the same way as music. But the pretendness? No getting around that one. I remember being in a musical my senior year in high school and having a mini meltdown on dress rehearsal day because it seemed so absurd to be singing something that could be just said. Didn't stop me from doing it, though.

ChaliceChiq said...


They're telling a story.

The playwrights are the mythmakers.

It's like what Alan Watts once said about God, who was playing hide and seek by taking form as us, pretending to be something other than God.

But we're not fooled. *grin*