Monday, May 12, 2008

Entertainment, Art, & Experience

The digital age is great for entertainment, right?

Movie theatres show dozens of movies at varying times daily. But who needs to go to the movies when you have DVD's that you can pop in your home theatre system with a enormous screen and movie quality sound. Heck, it's better because you don't have to deal with the couple talking in the row behind you and the food is a heck of a lot better. And while you are at it, you don't even have to go to BestBuy or even Blockbuster; sign up for Netflixs and the movies come right to you!

But why stop there? Remember the brick that people used to carry around... I mean the Walkman? Then came the Discman which was even better. Then could you possible imagine a digital music player where you can download only the tracks you want... plus movies? Heck, you'll never have to talk to anyone on the bus again. Plus, wherever you go, you will always have your own soundtrack.

I know I am being a little aggressive, but technology has given us the amazing to create and customize our own entertainment experience. With the Internet as your guide, once armed with tools such as On-Demand television, TeVo, iTunes, Netflix, and that wonderful little device that calls itself the Nintendo Wii, you will never have to be subject to music, movies or entertainment that you do not want ever again.

So where does that leave theatre?

It's not interactive. It's not at your home. You can't stop and start it whenever you want - heck, you have to show up at a prescribed time. You can purchase your tickets online now. I guess that's something. There is really very little about theatre that can be tailored to the audience's preference.

All we really have left to sell theatre on is the live experience. And while this is compelling, most people don't even want experience anymore. They can construct experience. People are yearning for interaction. Because we spend so much time chatting online, emailing and on our cell phones, the interaction that is in high demand is face time. People sitting down and talking.

So if theatre is starting to be left out of entertainment and not the most effective tool for interaction, what does it offer that is redeeming?

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