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The significance of Theater has become a significant aspect of entertainment and culture. Conversely, in recent years there are those who believe that theatre is no longer regarded as important or relevant in the modern era. Although the script is identical, the act of the performance is different each and every. Theatre continues is path as a significant aspect of society, allowing a form of self-examination in the mirror. And in an age when most of the individual’s time is glued to a screen, the primary function of theater becomes more relative.
As such, theatre possesses the immense ability to allocate towards social and political commentary for the current time, allowing the audience to reflect on these events, especially in the modern day. As political playwright Bertolt Brecht’s perspective, political ignorance was the worst and choosing to avoid these aspects of life was abysmal. This ideology can still be attributed to today as politics and social issues become more and more divisive between different groups all seeking opposing endgames.
Multiple issues such as justice, gender inequality, politics, race and prejudice continue to become divisive topics as politics and individuals become more and more polarized towards each other.
As a result of this significance, the preservation of theater thus allows the audience to observe the advocation for a series of new and diverse perspective alternate to their own. This aspect comes especially apparent given the context of diversity in theater, advocating for entirely distinct perspectives than the apparent white male playwright and allow alternate groups to showcase their unique perspectives on social issues and commentary for communities such as minorities and women.
Possessing the ability to come together and observe a social commentary of an opposing point of view becomes necessary, allowing a wider perspective on life experiences.
Issues such as race and gender haven’t vanished as the years pass by, if anything race issues have developed into even more prominent social problems in recent memory, with significant numbers outright refusing alternate ideologies and views. It’s an oppressive struggle still fought in the current political climate. The Whipping Man thus becomes a significant showcase of society’s continued issues with race, piling together. Perhaps one of the most significant results of The Whipping Man is the through which the narrative has been able to build bridges between differing groups people, slowing for the possible conversations between significant separate groups, White, Jewish and African American communities.
Significant other matters of minorities consumed the effects further, advocating their own personal approach towards theater and plays, with the rise of Latino and Feminist Theater paving substantial contribution towards the further development of abundant diversity within the theatre. Nilo Cruz, a rising student of the Cuban American Theater, would go on to become the 1st Latino to win Pulitzer Prize for the Play: Anna in the Tropics, paving the way for more upcoming writers to develop their own messages reflecting on the social commentary.
As Theater continues to express the significance that, especially in the current political climate, there are harsh realities that linger today, yet are now refused to be spoken about on a national scale. Lin Manuel Miranda’s “In The Heights”, a significant political musical that profoundly changed the scope of what defined the American musical. Centering around the Latino community of New York city, the musical production profoundly used the influence of music to explore different paths through times of adversity, the play acknowledging numerous critical pressures and struggles faced by minority immigrant communities. Topics such as racism becomes one of these, a facet that is spoken of as important, but the moment one brings up the conversation, it becomes heated, personal, and then shut down.
Lynn Nottage’s ‘Sweat’ becomes another class example for potent relevance of modern theater’s importance. Sweat’s performances feel very much of the moment, inarguably defined in what it seeks to say about the current state of the nation. Though it’s set during the 2000s, the social commentary can easily be applied in the toxic political climate of today, with both sides loathing the other, entirely set in their preferred way.
Rather than rely on these aspects, Lynn Nottage would instead travel to Reading, discuss the issues plaguing the people face to face as source material for the driving motivation behind Sweat. As people around the country search for answers, looking for guidance on how to approach the current climate, Sweat proves itself invaluable in capturing the faults with its social commentary. The levels of desperation concerning the economy exists, the people of Reading already felt this, afraid and extremely marginalized. Sweat shows the methods these forms of political bigotry can be affected by economic pressures, whether it be set during the recession or tomorrow.
Feminist Theater, starting decades ago in the 1960s, developing alongside other such movements such as civil rights, dealing with moral and social concerns for women presented outside of male playwrights. With Diana Son’s Stop Kiss striking chords with the audience who could identify with many of the anxieties and themes toyed with throughout the play, providing vivid exploration of issues surrounding sexuality and lesbian relationships.
The injustices displayed throughout the play, including the brutal attack on one of the leads could lead to identifying with numerous marginalized communities, including the treatment of other sexual and gendered minorities, especially with tensions high in the current climate, some outright rejecting minorities, whilst other seek to force acceptance down opposing throats during such heated debates. Instead, theater provides the common grounds where people of all backgrounds can come together, experiencing differing perspectives showcasing social issues and commentary for all matters of communities, be they white, minorities, or women. The significance of Theater is, despite criticism, more relevant today than ever before, attributed as social issues become more prevalent throughout all matters of different communities.
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