Drama is a written or printed text of a play. Theatre is the performance of this text on the stage with the help of actors and decorations. This essay aims to compare and contrast reading a play and seeing it performed. It also examines similarities and differences between experiencing a production in an intimate venue and a large performance venue.
Since tastes differ, some people perceive reading a play in the same way as listening to a football match instead of watching the game. It is like reading the description of a painting instead of looking at it. On the other hand, it develops imagination. People can interpret a play from their own perspective; they can imagine how characters look like, how they speak, and what emotions they feel. When viewers watch a play, they have to take it the way a director sees it.
Although I am fond of reading different genres, I prefer watching plays. The latter is a much more emotional experience than reading a script. As a rule, when writing a play, an author intends to make a performance later. A playwright writes it for the stage. However, some philosophical dramas are only aimed for reading. For example, it is interesting to watch almost all Shakespeare’s plays as they are intended for performance on the stage, while Goethe wrote his “Faust” without the intention to perform it. When seeing a play on the stage, a person does not only appreciate the art of a dramatist, but also the art of transformation in the theatre. It is exciting to observe emotions, facial expressions, and gestures of actors to explore how they express a certain mood by voice, tone and their body language. A viewer can be more into the play than a reader. The first one feels the energy of live performance, whereas the second one cannot get it from the book.
On the one hand, reading and watching are two different experiences. On the other hand, reading plays can be as important as watching them. People do not read plays in the same way as other literary works, for example, novels. While a painter communicates with the audience through the image created with the help of paint, an artist speaks directly to people without any go-between. A composer needs musicians to interpret his or her piece of music. A novelist, like a painter, writes a novel for people to read it. He or she speaks directly to a reader with the help of words. However, similar to a composer, almost every playwright understands that the audience can feel the power of a play in a theatre only with the help of actors. Directors, designers and actors will transform the text of the play into a theatrical performance. While, the selection of words and long descriptions are valuable in a novel, when speaking about a play, events, dialogues, and interactions between characters are more important. Theatre is vivid, brisk, and ephemeral. A performance lasts for a short time; it is of the moment. It is here today and will be gone tomorrow. However, a written play is forever. There is still a lot of sense in reading a play. People imagine as much as it is possible. They see a play in the mind’s eye.When reading, people have only one impression at a time. In the theatre, they perceive words, actor’s body language, gestures, movements, noises and silence. Besides actors’ play, there is a musical accompaniment, lighting, decorations, costumes, and so on (Fitzpatrick, 2011). All of these elements and more have been carefully selected, unified, and honed by collaborative efforts of actors, director, playwright, designers, and technicians. In general, the theatre has a special atmosphere. It brings energy and emotions that a written text cannot give.
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Speaking about the difference between experiencing a production in an intimate venue and a large performance venue, someone may think that feelings and emotions are almost the same. However, theatre connoisseurs can feel the striking difference. Admirers of the theatre can experience a play in both sounds and visual images. Theatre is active and alive. Live actors perform on the stage in front of the live audience. In the theatre, people can see and hear a play. It is even inherent in the meaning of t he word “theatre” that comes from the Greek word “theatron” or “a seeing place” (Machon, 2013).
As for me, there are more advantages in experiencing a play in an intimate venue than in a large one. It is as if actors and the audience create a production together. The audience may feel involvement in the performance, and viewers interact with actors. On the contrary, reading a play in an intimate venue causes remoteness.Theatre is about communication between the performer and members of the audience. However, someone may like experiencing a production in an intimate venue. It depends on tastes. Unlike large performance venues, intimate ones can give closeness between the reader and characters; the interaction is inside the reader’s mind and imagination. In an intimate place, people create and experience a play together. This feeling is unique. People cannot feel it neither watching TV nor surfing the Internet. They cannot perceive it while reading. Performances in the theatre cause the sense of truthfulness and realness.
To conclude, tastes differ and for some people, it is better to read a play since they prefer thinking every single word over and imagining what is happening. However, as for me, seeing a play on the stage is much better. I can comprehend it better when watching it performed. In other words, experiencing a production in a large performance venue causes the feelings of interaction and communication. However, there is still delicacy and closeness in an intimate venue.