Ask Mr. Manners

Arts for all

When I think about “the arts,” my thoughts instantly turn to the theater. There are many reasons why theater has been around for thousands of years and is still growing. Many people describe it as something magical, and truly an extraordinary experience. I can echo that sentiment. I can recall the first time I saw a Broadway show in vivid detail. The house lights dimming while the orchestra starts the overture is a unique rush of adrenaline that you never forget. But what is it that makes attending the theater so special?

First and foremost, the theater brings people together. Many people go to performances with groups of family members and friends. It not only gets you to the same place, but it allows you to share the experience of that particular show with one another. I have even heard stories of people making new friends with those sitting next to them.

For many, theater has become a tradition. Maybe it is an annual event with your family. It’s even possible that you go to the theater every time you’re on vacation or visiting NYC. Regardless of the specifics, it can be a wonderful thing to share with other, and it never gets old! New shows, new theater buildings, new actors, new directors, you name it… each show will feel new whether you’ve seen it before or not.

Much like books and movies, theater shows allow us to escape for a time being. Not like books or movies though, the theater often feels more real since the audience shares the same space as the actors. While shows can help us enter the world of the story, and temporarily leave our own lives, this escape can also bring meaning into our lives as well. Maybe the story presents a different perspective of the world that you did not notice before. Often, theater performances demonstrate to us the love, the strength, and the determination that we need to move forward in our lives.

Conversely of helping you temporarily escape reality, theater performances can even help you deal with difficulties by going through similar situations with you. While shows bring joy and laughter, they can also bring sadness. But this is not a negative attribute if you feel the same way as the characters. They are not only going through the same thing as you, but also can demonstrate ways to get through it.

I have often remarked that the theater saved my life. Maybe you feel the same? I am sure that many of us have a memory of going to the theater, even if it was part of a grade school field trip. Regardless of the reason, I am sure that for a moment you appreciate the hard work and dedication of the actors, directors, set designers, and production staff that brought that show to life. Theater reflects the people it serves, so I challenge you to get out there and see more theater. Who knows, they may be telling your story and you don’t even know it!

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