Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
“Plays are meant to be seen performed live. You can’t always take your kids to a play but if you can, you should. The story can be conveyed in a movie, but it doesn’t engage the viewer in the same way.”
That is absolutely true. We have all sat through a class (usually in high school) where the professor has asked us to read aloud some theatrical text. For most of us, it was Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet. How many of your classmates could identify Rosencrantz or tell you how Mercutio died? Probably not many. How many can tell you how they felt at the end of the script (beyond the word “bored”), if the only exposure they had was in an over-crowded classroom? Chances are that small interaction in class was as close as they got to the text. If they never had the opportunity to view the text as it was written, can we blame them for it not sinking in? An article for Science Daily examines just how beneficial seeing live performances of texts can be for students.
Seeing a text alive on stage, with performers, lights, and costumes, can engage a viewer in ways that reading a worn out, reused, archaic textbook cannot. We know exposure to art is important, and Science Daily is telling us that it increases both social and intellectual skills. My question is not about the value of the performances, but it is about the students who will never be able to go to them.
There are students all across our country that do not have access to live performance, whether due to their school or their home life. What happens to them? Do we lose them in the shuffle?