I love plays. I love Broadway plays. I love high school plays. I love plays on television. I like serious plays, but I love funny plays. Add a couple of songs and I’m one happy camper.
I find the experience of going to the theater thrilling. I love losing myself in a story for a few hours. Yes, you can get that same feeling by going to the movies, but in my opinion plays force you to use your imagination in a way that the movie industry abandoned years ago. In a movie everything is depicted for you. You see everything. In a play, there is usually something left to your imagination because you are limited to the space on and around the stage.
The other reason I love plays is that they inspire me. While watching a play I find myself trying to figure out where it is going. Sometimes I want a play to continue and try to map out what the sequel would be.
I usually go to plays with a friend. The last time we went to one she asked, “How come before a play you are so talkative and then afterwards you hardly say a word?” She didn’t wait for my answer, she just said, “I know it’s because you’re rewriting the whole thing, aren’t you?”
She was absolutely correct. Whether I laugh or cry, I want to change it. It could be a play by Joe Schmoo, the local playwright, or Neil Simon, who in my opinion is one of the best playwrights ever, but I can make it better. I get new ideas and I start writing.
It gets me going. I come home from a play and write like crazy.
I want to encourage all of you to start going to some plays. It’s a great way to get the
creative juices flowing. Attend some musicals,
comedies, and one person adventures. You don’t have to attend the high-priced professional shows. There are usually local theater groups that do a great job.
Here in Los Angeles, I can go see a high-priced professional show, but I also have the option of going to a local theater. Within 20 miles of my home, we have the Calabasas Players, the Simi Valley Players, and the Conejo Valley Players. They all put on great shows at reasonable costs; they just weren’t real clever at choosing names.
One advantage to attending Community Theater is that they may perform shows that are not as current or as well know as the big playhouses. This way you can see plays performed that most likely you wouldn’t have a chance to see anywhere else. I recently went to a performance of Neil Simon’s Fools, not one of his better-known shows. It was enjoyable, fun, and got me working.
Another great thing about Community Theater is that they are usually looking for volunteers and this could be a way to get introduced to show business. Most likely you get to see the productions for free, which is always nice. As a volunteer you may have the opportunity to watch and learn the ins and outs of a production, not to mention the access to people who may be able to help you in your writing career.
If you have the opportunity to go to a Broadway production, by all means, go, but don’t overlook the benefits of your nearest Community Theater.