It’s a known fact that the state of American theater is grim. Nowadays, going to the theater seems like a pastime for your grandparents. Today is the time of movie theaters, Hulu, and Netflix. As we are witnessing the death of traditional American theater, we are left to ask what happened and what hope is there to revive the stage?
Simply, American theater is no longer appealing. Before, going to the theater was a treat. You dressed in your finest clothes and saw an original and wonderful play that left you awe-filled. However, as time progressed, the amount of original plays declined. Theater companies began relying on classical plays, which would ensure patrons. In the companies’ eyes, you were more likely to see another rendition of Hamlet than an unknown play.
With the continued regurgitation of past pieces of classical literature, the theater gained a certain image. The image was a gold-plated picture portraying the elite. Going to see a play became a pastime for those who could afford going downtown and seeing a show. The plays were based on classical plays, which were familiar with theatergoers. This familiarity made the theater into a place for cliques. For those who didn’t fit in with the image of theaters, they decided to take their money and precious spare time to the movie theaters.
Since the theater was unable to access a wider audience, it also couldn’t access more revenue. The theatergoers started aging, the plays weren’t as interesting, and theater companies were left wondering how would they compete with movies. Why spend two hours at a play when you could go to a movie? The theater and its elite image didn’t cater to a mass audience. However, during its golden-era, movies catered toward the audience. You could sit down in comfy, slightly luxurious seats, munch on popcorn, and watch a spectacular show.
Due to rise of entertainment aimed at pleasing audiences, theater is in a constant of decline. Theater companies have tried different ways of accessing a larger audience. One way is selling tickets at half-price. Although changing ticket prices is one manner of accessing a larger audience, it still is not a definite way of fixing declining sales. The current state of American theater is grim, hopeless, and in desperate need of a miracle. If nothing is done, then we could be losing an art form.