The Mancunion

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Why I Love/Why I Hate

Hannah Lawrence reveals her likes and loathes of theatre

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Why I love: Physical theatre

Okay, just to make it clear, I like physical theatre when it is used well – watching an hour and a half of Hamlet simply conveyed through physical theatre would not be my idea of fun. However, as a rule I think that when it is used well it … well … really does work. The use of physical theatre is one of the things that really takes a play from being a text to being a performance. Particularly for subversive plays with an edge of satire, plays such as The Thirty Nine Steps, at moments physical theatre is far better for creating the atmosphere and comedy than language. And, although I wouldn’t say it’s a principle which theatre should always adhere to, there are times when the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ holds some truth.

 

Why I hate: Theatrical elitism

As a student I have begun to notice an element of elitism present among many theatre-goers, particularly in relation to student theatre productions. For many people I have come across, the term ‘student theatre’ seems to yield a rather disdainful inferiority; as something which is perfectly acceptable, but simply shouldn’t be considered alongside ‘real theatre’. It is this kind of attitude which alienates people from theatre. In fact, it creates a damaging two way process – such an attitude puts people off going to the theatre because it is seen as stuffy and out of date which, in turn, means that theatre is circulated by the same people, along with the same attitudes. Having seen some outstanding ‘student theatre’ – here I use the phrase with pride – in Manchester over the past few years I think its time these attitudes were overcome.