When it comes to the entertainment business, film and theater reign supreme. There is nothing quite like catching the latest movie or checking out the newest theater production to have the best time. On the face of it, these two art forms within entertainment look pretty similar. In truth, this is a valid take as both art forms do share similar characteristics. Once you scratch below the surface, however, things get a bit more interesting. It is only then that you will see that although closely related, they offer totally different experiences.
Theater in the US has a proud tradition
Theater is something that stretches around the whole planet but is particularly loved in the US. Theater sees plays or musicals performed live to an audience. Of course, the big attraction here is the Broadway district in New York City, which plays host to the best productions, actors and playhouses.
Big-name producers including Louise Gund have made Broadway their home, and their sheer talent helps to keep it all going. Indeed, the Gund-produced play All the Way scooped the Tony Award for Best Play in 2014, which shows exactly the quality of shows on offer.
Movies also demand worldwide attention
Of course, we all know what watching movies involves as heading to the cinema to catch the latest blockbuster is a regular activity for many. Still the center of the global film industry is Hollywood in the beautiful city of Los Angeles in America. This is where all the big-budget films are signed off and where all the major studios still call home. It is also a mecca for both aspiring and successful actors, who all rub shoulders here, looking to bag that next great role.
The very nature of what is involved in both makes for some similarities, which pulls the two art forms close together. But what exactly joins them both?
Both involve actors telling a story
The most obvious similarity between the stage and film is that both involve professional actors telling a story to their audience. Plays, musicals and films all have characters that the actors play and who help to get across what is happening on screen or on stage. Both art forms also involve some kind of plot, which is either interesting, shocking, funny or exciting to the audience watching. This also shows the range of productions they both cover from horror movies to rom-coms. Over the course of the film or play, the way that the characters interact and what they say reveals more of what is going on for us to enjoy.
How else is screen and stage connected?
Another obvious similarity between the two is the presence of a script in most cases. Both art forms normally have actors read pre-written lines, which they have to memorize and repeat when performing. This allows the writer to get across the exact points they are trying to make and also to ensure that the production has structure and coherence.
Both art forms are are visual in their presentation. This means that we watch them rather than read or just listen to them. Whether it is a film at your local cinema or a musical at your local theater, the experience is highly visual, and this is something that binds them together.
Are there any key differences between the two?
When looking at the relationship between stage and screen, it must be noted that some startling differences also exist. The first lies in the very nature of what is happening and how the audience experiences it. Theater is completely live and happens in real time with the audience present to see everything that happens. Film, on the other hand, is pre-recorded and edited before being watched back at a later date – as such, we only see what the filmmaker wants us to see!
You may not think it, but differences in the two also extend to how the actors themselves must approach their work. Theater is often performed in big arenas with the audience far away from the action in some seats. This means that theater actors have to give an over-the-top performance to reach everyone and be heard. When acting for film though, the opposite is true. Film actors have microphones to pick up their voices, and the camera is always close by. This dictates that they should act in a much more natural way.
So near yet so far
Although there are similarities between the two art forms, it is clear to see that film and stage productions are two completely different things. This is actually great news for the public as you get to enjoy both without ever getting bored. Whether it is catching the latest flick or enjoying some raucous live theater, you will always have fun.