Why theatre is the easiest of the fine arts to start with

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As many of you know, my husband is a professional classical musician – a trumpet player in a symphony orchestra. Music is both his passion and his job.

Like a lot of professional artists, he spends so much time working in his own field that he doesn’t always have a ton of brain space or desire to take in other types of art. I can attest from my own years as a musician that a day of intense artistry leaves you wanting to watch Real Housewives, not go to the museum.

Which is why I was both surprised and positively delighted a couple years ago when he got us (me) season tickets to a local theatre company for Christmas. Ryan would be the first person to admit that he knows pretty much jack shit about theatre. Like most people (myself largely included), he didn’t grow up with it. But, like me, he loves seeing people excel at whatever they’re doing, including acting, and I think he kind of likes me. So, theatre tickets it was!

The thing is that, theatre is something that’s really easy to become a fan of. Do you watch TV? Have you ever read a book, or watched a movie? Ok, you’re ready to be a fan of theatre!

Going to a play is just like going to the movies. Often there are drinks or snacks. There are usually comfy seats. There’s that lovely sensation of togetherness that comes from sitting in the dark with a bunch of other humans. And, there’s a great story that unfolds before you in (almost always) less than a couple hours. Same as a movie.

The reason we get intimidated about “going to the theatre” is that movies and TV tell us (a) it’s fancy, and (b) it’s boring. How many sitcoms have used that annoying cliché of someone “having to go” to a play, and often falling asleep at it?

It’s not true, people! This is mass media trying to keep you home and keep you feeling dumb so you’ll keep watching advertisements. It’s a cheap laugh based on an outdated stereotype, and it’s flat out false.

Anyone can go to the theatre and enjoy it, just like anyone can go to a movie. Sure, you want to pick a movie you think you’re going to like (maybe it’s by a director whose other movies you liked, or maybe it’s set in a historical time period you’re interested in, or maybe you know it’s a slapstick comedy and that sounds perfect for kicking back and unwinding). THAT’S HOW YOU PICK A PLAY!

Thus pretty much ends my TED Talk: “Plays, they’re just like movies!” The VAST majority aren’t any harder to “get”, they aren’t “fancier,” they’re just LIVE! Which makes them awesome and adds a whole other dimension to the experience.

So do yourself a favour. Today, root the following deep in your brain: theatre is the easiest of the fine arts to become a fan of, because you already know how to watch stories. And the next time someone asks you if you’d like to go to the theatre, reply with a rousing “hell yeah!”, not a lazy and outdated yawn.