Thursday, February 10, 2011

Are Plays Better Than Movies?

I very rarely see plays at all. The last time I saw one I was in grade seven and it was more of a silent ballet kind of thing where music played all the time as characters jumped and bounced around in dance, acting out scenes in Wizard of Oz silently to the music.


Other than that, all I've actually seen are two musicals, and the one I saw today.


It was part of the SFY program I'm in. Don't ask why, I don't know. It was a short walk down Wellington from where it bends into Somerset to Holland, where the GCTC building - the Great Canadian Theatre Company - stands. It's a fairly new development. Built in the last five-seven years.


For one reason or another, we all accompanied several classes largely made up of girls from Canterbury into a theatre where a simple setup was arranged on the stage. I knew that the play was called Strawberries in January (or February, or March, whichever).


Instead of writing any kind of review, I'm going to briefly state what I found different about seeing a play in comparison to a film. Then I'm going to bed.


Firstly, it wasn't bad. The actors were quite good and very engaging to the audience. They pulled off the characters easily and with grace.


What I largely find in seeing a play is that you are up close and personal with the characters. They're right in front of you. They're acting in front of you and you can see the action with you own eyes, not the camera lens, which makes it perfect and very real. Unless you have bad eyesight.


What I like is that the people playing the characters can really get into expressing themselves really well. It's a lot more realistic. It's live and it's atmospheric. You can enjoy the acting as it happens.


As for film, the positives here are that you are guaranteed with a perfect show, quick action and different scenes that take you to different places altogether instead of the same stage with certain props moved around or set designs. You get special effects and movie magic. You get scene transitions and effective ways to propel story lines in a more non-parallel format.
In a movie, if an actor makes a mistake, they redo the scene until he or she gets it right, and whatever was filmed prior can get put on a gag reel if it was a particularly funny or significant blooper. On stage, the actors have to be very good at performing perfectly then and there.


In the end, movies are clean and well-cut and stylish (depending on the talent and reliability of the actors, directors and editors of course). Plays or musicals, on the other hand, are realistic, in the moment, up close and personal, and very engaging.


What do I prefer more?


If I see anymore plays that are as well-produced and pulled off amazingly like this one, then I'd have to say plays. They're more intimate and I feel I can connect with the actors a lot more on the stage than on a screen. Plus, I think they're a little more fun.


On this occasion, we left too quickly. I wanted to congratulate the actors and shake their hands for a well-done, perfectly pulled-off performance. Maybe I'll look into attending more plays in the future.


Justin C.

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