What’s The Point Of Plays?

Why do people go to plays?

What can plays do that movies can’t?

Are they like ugly girls in that they try harder?

I need to know.

There must be something special about plays. Historian Paul Johnson says in his book Intellectuals that they were the most influential medium of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Tonight I caught a one-woman performance by Susan Clark of "A Woman Of Independent Means."

It’s based on the novel by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey that was turned into a six hour mini-series starring Sally Field.

It was all very well done but I found myself looking forward to it ending.

I don’t find one-person plays mesmerizing.

They’re more like musaf — they have to be endured to get to the kiddish.

I’m not a huge fan of plays.

I find myself more interested in movies and TV.

So I wonder, what is the point of plays?

Hailey took questions at the end of the performance. I asked her in which ways was the medium of the play superior to other mediums such as the novel and the movie?

She said, "Because it’s my own words."

In other words, she didn’t engage my question. The novel was her own words too.

So I’m trying to think how would a play be superior to other mediums?

Frankly, I can’t think of anything.

I’ve seen a dozen plays in the past 15 years. Some were good but none were superior to a good movie.

I saw most of these plays, like tonight’s, out of obligation. That I should give theater a chance.

Frankly, I’m more dazzled by movies.

When I look deep into my heart, the only reason I’d prefer to see a play is if I wanted to see certain actors up close and personal. If I didn’t belong to an Orthodox synagogue, I’d say something about seeing hot young actresses naked (which you get in almost all Broadway productions).

I find a play more exciting when the protagonists are hot and young and horny and they are constantly interchanging with each other — words, actions, fluids…

I’m a pretty bad person because I rarely find myself captivated by old people reading letters and reflecting on their lives.

I want to look at someone hot, female and in action.

I want to see hot young women losing their innocence on stage. I want to witness the eating of the forbidden fruit and its devastating emotional consequences. (I’m not particularly into seeing the spread of gonorrhea and the like in my plays, I don’t find that erotic). At least I would want to see all that loss of innocence if I did not want to belong to the Orthodox community. But as I do want to be holy, I’ll state for the record, rabbi, that I’d rather see plays about how ordinary people — fully clothed — grow in their Torah as they are inspired by their walk down the ages with the sages and the pages.

Yay, that sounds almost as exciting as a three-day yom tov — just think, three holy days in a row in which you can’t shower, you can’t go online, you can’t drive, you can’t work.

Oh, what wild ecstasy.

Blow my shofar!

Jane emails: "I guess you could similarly ask what’s the point of concerts when you can just buy the CD – but I guess as an audience member you can feel the performers energy along with the others who are present, in real time with the live factor added in..and I’d think they’d have to be even better looking on stage since there’s no cropping and special camera angles to make them look prettier…and no second takes."

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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