The Art of Theater


Jackson Barr, Writer

Since its inception in the ancient Greek culture, the tradition of theater has continued on throughout hundreds and hundreds of years. A distraction from ordinary life, theater compels complex stories, characters, and situations. In ancient Greece, theater was not only praised, but it was mandatory for Greek men to view and study Greek tragedies and comedies. In Oedipus Rex, a classic Greek tragedy, many philosophical questions are posed to the audience but require deeper reflection to uncover. Theater is not only a show, but also an eyeglass to our world. A good play had a compelling story, a moral lesson, and gets the viewers to ponder upon it. There are some plays whose only purpose is to entertain the viewers, which are fine to view in their own right, but they may be quickly forgotten compared to striking, tragic, and outstanding plays like Oedipus Rex, Antigone, The Oresteia, and Medea.

The Blind Oedipus. By Benigne Gagneraux
The Blind Oedipus by Benigne Gagneraux

In our modern culture, most producers only want to earn money on their production or to entertain their viewer on a very superficial level, and while they are funny and smart at times, they get swept into the stream of history, to be all but forgotten. Yet these Greek plays have lasted for thousands of years, influencing history and culture. Yet in this modern age, the acceptance of theater is declining due to the huge marketing of movies and television which makes it harder to write plays which make a big impact on society. It is not hard to imagine theater going away permanently as it is so hard for playwrights to compete with big movie blockbuster. This would be a great blow to human culture, as theater, in it’s purest form, requires on to contemplate, appreciate, and reflect upon society, ethics, philosophy, religion, and culture. So I encourage you, take a dive into the world of theater; experience some culture, and be edified by the gifts theater gives.