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Where I live, we are fortunate to have the beautiful Count Basie Theatre within walking distance. I have seen some local productions there and have enjoyed them all. However, I have only seen one play on Broadway, and that was “Kinky Boots”. This play is a about the son of a factory owner who, to save his family business, pairs up with a drag queen and together they achieve success in keeping the business afloat (“Kinky Boots,” n.d.). In order to become engaged in this show, you had to be willing to believe the unbelievable. I think that is probably the most important aspect of what “suspending belief” is all about.

During my reading this week, I came across an article on the Theatre Washington website that asserts that theatre influences the way we think and feel about our own lives (Shalwitz, 2011) I found this to be an interesting idea. When watching a production in a theater, it is often within limited space and with limited special effects. We need to use our imaginations to place these special effects and to transform the set into something we need it to be for it to become relatable. Our own life experiences play a part in our perception of what is happening in front of us. Productions in a theater rely on the ability of the actors, the music, and the lighting to convey the mood and tone of the production. By suspending belief and allowing ourselves to become immersed in the experience, we can use our imagination to enjoy what we know is not, in fact, real. The experience is honest – the actors must be engaged. While they would have rehearsed numerous times, they need to play a part night after night in front of a live audience. The orchestra needs to provide music that is perfectly timed with what is happening on the stage. The experience is a very complicated and coordinated effort, and no two performances would be exactly the same. That in itself is special.

Film production, for me, doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Special effects are added to enhance our experience, to make them more realistic. The actors are permitted many takes to get their performance “just right”. Music is added post-production of the film so that the scenes in the movie make the maximum impact on the view. What we see is a finished product, free of mistakes and bloopers. We are seeing and feeling exactly what somebody else has determined that we should see or feel while watching that car chase, explosion, or any other event. While this is entertaining and enjoyable, for me, it really does take away from it. I would prefer to watch old black and white movies than to watch today’s action movies.

As for The Tempest, I would prefer to see this on stage. Having watched one the recorded productions of this for this week’s lesson, I felt that I wasn’t understanding what was happening, that some of the work was out context. I think that being able to experience this in person, I could immerse myself in it. By personally experiencing the change in lighting, music, tone of voice, and character acting, I may be able to gain a better understanding of the play and what it is all about.

Have a good night!
Kim

References

Shalwitz, H. (2011). 7 reasons why theatre makes our lives better. Retrieved from http://theatrewashington.org/content/7-reasons-why…

What is Kinky Boots? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://kinkybootsthemusical.com/about.php

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