Entertainment is far more accessible today than it was when some of us were growing up. We personally remember the days of rotary dial telephones and a time when there was no call waiting, if you weren’t home when the phone rang, you didn’t get the call. We also remember when home entertainment choices were limited.
If a show was scheduled to be aired, there was no method of recording it. If you wanted to see The Wizard of Oz on television, you had to be home to watch that night, and there was no such thing as fast forwarding through the commercials. Also, there were only around five to seven channels to choose from, which is a droplet in the station options offered to viewers today.
Yet, those days of old had their benefits. Making a viewing of The Wizard of Oz an annual event, television stations encouraged families to stay home and enjoy the show together. Mothers made popcorn, or Jiffy-Pop, as kids gathered around their small tubes, that were sometimes void of color; it was an event.
Back then, you didn’t stream things into your home. It was the television, the radio, the movie theater, or the live theater. These were your options, but of course, those were different times and progress has been made, just like the days when television took all of radio’s spotlight. Today, the home entertainment options are endless.
While the benefits of not being plugged in too much or too often are evident, there are also great benefits to having certain entertainment outlet so easily and readily available for audiences, particularly live theater. We certainly feel there are many benefits to streaming live theater into your home, and we would like to list them for you here.
1. It’s less expensive than going to the theater.
There is no denying that the economy has been less than favorable for some of us. Yet we don’t want to skimp on the things that make us happy. For us, theater and the thrill of watching live performances makes us happy. Yet, we attended a performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute last week at the Lyric Opera in Chicago and for the nose bleed seats the cost was well over one hundred dollars each.
Broadway and musical theater are even higher in price. It’s common knowledge the tickets of hit shows like Hamilton and The Book of Mormon go for well over what we paid for Mozart last week. This does not make it easy for a family of four to go out and experience this type of culture. Steaming live theater is so much cheaper only a few dollars a month for endless ballets, operas, and other performances.
2. You can enjoy great performances from the comfort of your own home
This brings us to our next benefit, which is comfort. Who doesn’t love to be comfortable? We do. Especially at this time of year, when there is ice on the ground and a bone chilling wind all around. Of course, those that live in warm climates also enjoy being comfortable. That’s why they live where it is warm.
When we went to the opera last week, we wore high heeled shoes and got all dressed up, and it was nice. We love to go out and enjoy theater in its natural habitat, in the theater. Yet, there is something to be said about hearing Pagliacci lament while snuggling up on the sofa under a warm afghan.
3. You’ll expand your horizons to more than what pop culture has to offer.
This one is huge, to us. We are inundated with what Brad and Angelina are doing or what Meryl Streep said. Pop culture and Hollywood are everywhere you look. They are on the magazines on the shelves at the grocery stores, and they are the center of stories on our news outlets. Our media is overrun by pop culture.
Sure, we like pop culture and Hollywood movies, but we also love classics like Carmen. We also love hearing the voices of Renée Fleming and Kathryn Lewek in roles written by Mozart and Dvorák. Everyone knows who the current pop stars are yet more people should know about Fleming and Lewek. Steaming live performances makes experiencing their amazing talents easier for the viewer.
4. Watching live performance can spark your own creativity.
Just as they say you should read if you want to write. You need to watch live theater if you want to be a performer. Yet, we realize not everyone reading this blog wants to perform, some of our readers might paint, draw, create poetry, or play the guitar. We believe whatever your creative outlet is, that creativity in your genre will be sparked after you begin experiencing live theater.
5. You can tap into emotions you never knew you had.
A study conducted by the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville examined the effects of live theater and its effect on students. The findings were interesting. It was found that empathy in the students had increased after being exposed to live theater.
Jay Greene, professor of education reform, said the study revealed that watching a movie or reading a play “doesn’t engage the viewer in the same way.” It is believed that when the viewer experiences the stories in live theater, that can encompass tragedy, or comedy, farther then what they’ve experienced themselves, they can evoke new feelings that they normally wouldn’t.
6. You get a better understanding of the context while watching opposed to reading.
Green also said, “Plays are meant to be seen performed live” when speaking about her study with the University of Arkansas. This is true and anyone who studied Shakespeare out there can agree. When reading a play, you are left to your devices in analyzing the mood of the character, when a performer does that for you so you can just go along for the ride.
While figuring out mood while reading Shakespeare for an English major requirement is important in the student’s understanding of the English language and how it works, many of us aren’t English students or students for that matter. We want to lose ourselves in the story and odds are, with plays, watching them live is the best way to go.
7. It strengthens empathy.
The same study also revealed that “students who attended live performances of the play also scored higher on the study’s tolerance measure than the control group by a moderately large margin.” It goes on to say that these students were better able to understand the feelings of others and their emotional needs.
8. It’s a great activity for the family.
Coming full circle from the beginning, just as it was great that we were forced to all watch The Wizard of Oz together as a family, that was a good thing. In today’s world, we are all so wrapped up in our virtual lives, we sometimes lose sight of what is important, which is spending time with the people you love.
Scheduling a date night or a family get together to catch a live theater performance as it streams to your home could be another version of game night, or movie night, or whatever it is you like to do with your family. This could be that something new you were looking for and with it comes all these added benefits we just listed. Happy streaming!!