Theater reveals emotions

Dr. Jim Lile - Associate Professor of Theater

Dr. Jim Lile – Associate Professor of Theater

It will probably come as no surprise that this column is about the theater. Whenever I am offered space to write or time to speak, that is my usual topic of choice.

Why not?

I think the theater is terrific, and I believe one reason I am on this planet is to persuade others to think so, too.

My message is simple – come to the theater. That being said, here are some reasons why I think you should.

Theater is good for you. Like all the other arts, theater provides a service to humanity that goes way beyond decoration or recreation. The great plays help us to make sense of ourselves and our relationships. They explore the varied landscape of human experience and offer insights into the creation and maintenance of vital, vibrant communities. The theater provides an opportunity to join with others in our community to celebrate those things we all have in common. In a world that is too often about differences and walls and barriers, it is pleasant to come together to share events that remind us that we are ultimately connected to each other. We may be gladdened by a comedy in which love triumphs over all. A tragedy can humble us as we watch a man destroy himself to complete himself. We enter the world of the play and share the experiences of the characters. We are moved to thought, to laughter, to tears because we are concerned about what happens to others. From time to time, it’s good to be reminded of our capacity to care.

Setting all that ponderous discourse aside, a second reason to come to the theater is because it’s fun. Directors, designers, actors and technicians are very conscious of the need to create an event that will be entertaining. Our goal is to make it possible for you to leave your world at the door of the theater so that you can spend some time in another world. The theatrical world is peopled by characters who are worthy of your attention and who will reward your interest. It is a world of issues and passions, of conflicts and resolutions. Some plays exist to make us laugh and we do. That’s fun. Some plays touch us deeply and we respond emotionally. That can be fun, too. Some plays affect us in ways so profound that words fail. At those times, we delight in the knowledge that we are surrounded by ideas and feelings that are much bigger than we are. That may be the most fun of all.

It is no accident that our posters say “Southern Theater presents …” because a theatrical production is a present. It is something we have made for the audience-for you. We are already at work on the shows for the ’06-’07 season. We have a lot of nice presents in store. Come and get yours.