How does theatre disappoint us?

Craig Manson, 8 September 2012

Discussed by: Craig; Kate; John; Lee; Diana & Emma

Theatre can disappoint us in many ways. Whether its new directors in Scotland not quite cutting the mustard to a tyranny of new writing, the main conclusion we've come to is that theatre will always disappoint in one way or another. But that's why we love it so much.

One of the main things we discussed was whether theatre would benefit from audiences being more blunt. If you're seeing a show that you find dreadful, why don't you just walk out? Are we too polite? Are we too forgiving of bad theatre? Perhaps theatre would truly benefit if we reflected how we really felt about a bad production. There is also an issue of who to blame for a bad performance. Blame the company? The writer? The actors? The theatre that held it? Should we be blaming anything or anyone at all?

This discussion generated a lot of questions. No two people will ever be satisfied with the same kind of theatre. Different people have different opinions. However, disappointing theatre can sometimes end up being the best kind. What about The Rocky Horror Show? Or Hedwig and the Angry Inch? Both pieces of theatre faced terrible criticism and disappoint from audiences, but both went on to develop a cult following. Perhaps disappointing theatre is simply created at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Another one of the main issues raised was the education of theatre. Audience members who are not as immersed in drama and the performing arts compared to others who are may not appreciate a piece of theatre on the same scale. Children and teenagers can be particularly vicious to ‘bad’ productions. Is this just because they don't appreciate the work and effort which went into it?

We also discussed how disappointing it can be when a mainstream show that is terrible from a more critical and analytical point of view will run in a theatre for 2 weeks, but a stunningly superb piece of experimental theatre will run for 2 days, and barely sell a ticket.

As a conclusion of the discussion, we decided that theatre will always disappoint. Whether it's bad shows, differing opinions, not enough performances, not enough money - which a lot of everything seems to come down to these days - it will always dissatisfy in someone's eyes. But that's the only way that theatre will thrive and evolve, like any art form, to the changing times.

It's also why we love it.


quality, bad, Theatre, money, Drama, discussion, Money, children, Quality, drama, teenagers, shows, Shows, theatre, time, disappointment