Theater Issue 2024

Theater Events

Stage Door Theatre Season 50
The Enduring Appeal of Live Theater
Theatre Mask - Photo Credit: Vlad Hilitanu Unsplash

What Makes Theater Immersive?

By: Rosanne Gibel, MFA

The term immersive has become something of a buzzword over the last few years. It is used to describe all kinds of things from entertainment experiences to features in technology. Often, it is used as a way of signaling a more intense experience for the audience or user and a marketing tool. Dictionary definitions- often a great place to start with a large and trendy topic like this one- are not particularly helpful. Most define it as providing, involving, or characterized by deep absorption or immersion in something, surrounding the audience so that they feel completely involved.

But shouldn’t any good production do this? As a theater-goer, I will admit that I have the willing suspension of disbelief. If the scene takes place in a hotel room (think of Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite, for example), when an actor leaves the stage, for me they are walking down a corridor of closed doors with all the mystery of what is happening behind each. When they look out a window, they are seeing the city and its action or perhaps just the airshaft. I gasp when Juliet stabs herself, although I surely know it is going to happen. If that engagement does not happen, it may be the fault of the production, but it is more likely be some distraction of my own, that allows me to drift elsewhere.

culture in the keys
Embark on a Cultural Vacation in the Beautiful Florida Keys
Changes in Theater in the Last Decade
Theatre Stage Door - Photo Credit: Lance Bellers Shutterstock

Changes in Theater in the Last Decade

By: Sam Stewart

There is no question that life has changed over the last decade and dramatically in the last few years. Technological changes including advanced in wireless, projection and communication, societal trends arising out of the me-too movement and calls for diversity and inclusion and the most unpredictable and dramatic event of all- the global pandemic are seen reflected in the arts.

When it comes to theater and theater production, these advances and trends have had varying impacts. This is one of the arts (there are definitely others) where the traditional is valued in practice as much as the innovative. The plays of Shakespeare are still produced in both traditional and innovative ways. But who would have thought that a rap musical about the founding fathers of the United States performed by a mostly black cast would become a fixture and a draw for all audiences? After almost 20 years, it is clear that the appeal goes beyond the novelty.

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