Theatre dates back hundreds of centuries and has continued to be a part of our modern lifestyle. However, some might argue that it has lost its shine over the years due to ongoing competition from various industries like film and media. This investigation will attempt to discover whether the use of technology and our need for change as a modern society has positively or negatively influenced peoples perspectives on theatre. To investigate this question the following have been taken into consideration: Film and Media, Technological Advancements, Popular Culture, Specialization, and Environmentally Friendly Approaches. Theatre is an art form that has been present throughout humanity for thousands of years, evolving from Greek tragedies to Shakespearian theatre and many other playwrights and styles of contemporary theatre. However, some people that have a connection to the theatre industry believe that the creation of modern technology and modern lifestyles have affected theatrical productions and their outcomes in a negative way.
Specialization and Popular Culture
It is needless to say that theatre has decreased in popularity and as a result, theatre has become a much tougher and more competitive industry. In order to save money, theaters and actors have begun to specialize in certain styles and types with the goal of drawing the attention of select groups. This can be viewed both positively and negatively affecting theatre as an art form . In regards to the negative, these changes have caused certain types of theatre to suffer in popularity. Since theatre has been capturing less and less attention, it is a given that theatre would specialize in the most popular styles and allow others to disappear. Demographics show that as of now theaters have been using The specialization shown in theatre has caused a positive and negative effect on the styles of theatre that are available to us. For example, musical theatre has revolutionized the way we see theatre but it also takes away from other theatre styles that the average person may not even know exists. One example can be Rent which has revolutionized musicals and brought about the rock musical. When Rent first came to Broadway in 1996 “it was like nothing else on Broadway at the time, bringing a new generation to the theatre.” Popular culture has also shifted how theatre is viewed. Since smaller community theaters do not have the same budgets as those of Broadway theaters they have to adjust accordingly and to keep up with popular demand shows have been created into adaptations and knockoffs such as I Hate Hamlet by Paul Rudnick and shows that appeal to younger audiences. Some argue that these new productions diverge from the original purpose of theatre that is Shakespearean drama, Sophocles etc. However, the purpose of theatre is to view and observe human experience which has always been at the core of theatrical productions which most definitely includes contemporary plays and musicals.
Theatre nowadays has become more of a commodity that is theatre has very much become dependent on marketing and promotion through several platforms such as social media, television, newspapers, etc. As a result of this, it seems as if an actor does not need as much acting experience or talent per say to be cast in a role. They only need to have a “look” that is appealing to a wide audience. This seems to belittle theatre as an art form because it has become more of a competition to see which actors can best market themselves as opposed to who has true talent. This can also hurt job prospects of current actors for many reasons.
Thesis Statement 3: Film and Media have been in competition with the theatre industry for a long time because they have become a huge part of popular culture today. This is where issues come in for theatre because people are so accustomed to realistic special effects that theaters have to spend excessive amounts of money to match the quality of a movie. This has both a negative and positive effect on theatre today because it
Thesis statement 4: Our ever increasing need to become more eco-friendly as a part of our modern lifestyles has also translated to the theatre realm more-so through the technical department. For example, more theaters have been asked to and are implementing new light fittings so that they can use less energy. However, with this environmentally friendly change comes higher costs. This eco-friendly change may come across as positive but there also comes a challenge in keeping the lighting intensities the same as before to achieve the same realistic effects that were obtained with prior lights. The Broadway Green Alliance was founded in 2008 in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental action group, to help the Broadway community go green and reduce its carbon footprint.
There are many different divisions involved in the production of a show. From managing the lighting outside of the theater to the actual set building of the production itself, each task is specialized. Due to this, there are countless eco-friendly practices that can be put into place to reduce Broadway's carbon footprint. The BGA is split up into six committees to address the specific areas of the theater industry:The Venues Committee is responsible for implementing greener practices around the actual theater itself. Such as, replacing the light bulbs on the outside of the theater with energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lights and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Committees such as these may be adequate for Broadway theaters but unfortunately, smaller community theaters cannot afford this same luxury.
Reliance on Technology
Back in the 1980s as new technologies began to make their mark in theatre we still marvelled at West End shows in which sound, lights and even the set was computer-generated to some degree. Computers and other technologies have transformed our every day lives and they have become a crucial part of the way theatre is made, and our theatre-going lives too.
Technology allows us to watch simultaneous performances taking place in London and Rio de Janeiro in the case of Station House Opera's What's Wrong With The World and it allows students with little more than a Mac at their disposal to make multimedia performances. Even small shows play with multimedia with real confidence and élan. It may be that theatre is experiencing a revolution on a par with that of movie-making some years back when suddenly anyone with access to a handheld camera could make his or her own film. Of course, when you rely a great deal on technology things can go badly wrong, as Robert Lepage discovered with Elsinore and Peter Stein with Troilus and Cressida when both their first night Edinburgh festival performances had to be cancelled due to computer glitches. It is seldom that a performance has to be cancelled because the stagehand wasn't working, and in the days of cloakroom tickets it was never the case that you couldn't buy a ticket for the theatre because the box office computer had broken down. But we've come a very long way from the first faltering steps taken by ambitious young companies such as Fecund 15 or so years ago, to the point when earlier this year Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer of Fifty Nine Productions - who have contributed brilliant work to Katie Mitchell's Waves and Attempts on her Life and the projection design for Warhorse - were made the National Theatre's youngest ever associates. Without being able to lay out each wall pixel on a Magic Sheet, it would have cost me a lot of time trying to write effects and select one individually, not to mention trying to visualize what was happening with each one graphically." Peletz also found that the expanded real estate on Ti's screens improved his programming experience: "Because the Ti has larger screens, I was able to fit in more direct selects per screen, more Magic Sheet information per sheet, and get more creative in the way I combine my Magic Sheets with my standard snapshots." One of the strengths of the Eos Ti lighting desk is its ability to be flexible without sacrificing power. "My way of working is always evolving and I'm in a very comfortable place on the Ti," says Peletz, "especially with the latest updates of the Eos software." He found Ti's mappable macro keys to be an essential time-saving tool when it came to programming The Curious Incident: "They allowed me to stock regularly-used functions on physical keys and do away with all the external hardware devices such as x-keys, therefore increasing operating speed."
"We pushed the technology hard," says Constable. "Ti is perfect for us, especially since we control so much data." Peletz agrees: "You spend less time talking about the technical side of things and more time being creative."
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