Opinion: Supporting theatre helps the community

Lyndsey Schley

Lyndsey Schley

Lyndsey Schley is a sophomore news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

This weekend, I went to my alma mater, Tallmadge High School, to see its performance of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” I was floored by the quality of the performance. The program has steadily improved since Dave Obney began directing four years ago.

Theatre is a great, cheap form of entertainment. With movie tickets reaching $10 and concessions costing an arm and a leg, theatre can be a far more affordable way to spend an evening. If you are a Kent State student, you can see each performance once for free. Aside from that, proceeds go back into your community, supporting students and schools.

Not only that, but I have seen some phenomenal performances. The “Death of a Salesman” cast was extremely strong and managed to tell a powerful story with great skill despite their ages.

At Kent State, my favorite production I have seen so far was last year’s “Nathan the Wise.” This play was beautifully orchestrated and really transported you to a different place. Plus, the message of religious tolerance is one that is very important in today’s divided world. On the other hand, the performance of “Reefer Madness” did a great job of balancing satire and comedy. There really is a play for everyone, and I urge you to keep your eyes out for a performance that’s suited to your tastes.

Not only does theatre provide entertainment for the viewers, but it also teaches the performers valuable lessons. I learned a lot from the two years I spent involved in my high school theatre program. Theatre teaches students speaking skills that can help in all sorts of situations. My experience helped me become very comfortable speaking to both small groups of people and large crowds, both crucial skills for interviews.

It also teaches teamwork and discipline. Memorizing stage directions and lines can be difficult and time-consuming. Play practices are a huge time commitment. However, it is critical that all performers do all these things, whether they are the lead or an extra. One bad performance can ruin a show, so it is very important that everyone does their part and works as a team.

Actors are not the only people who benefit from working on the shows. Stage crews get the same benefits of teamwork and discipline as the actors do. They must learn to work with the actors, though they have very different skill sets. Tech crew learns a number of technical skills, such as how to mix sounds and use light boards. Art students often design the promotional posters, giving them design experience.

Theatre productions are not only a cheap form of entertainment but also great teaching tools within communities. Try going to a play instead of a movie some Friday night. It is a great way to help your community and yourself.