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February 14, 2005 | by  | in Theatre |
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Why You Should Go To The Theatre…

“The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.” Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Grey

There are many reasons that could compel someone to go to the theatre but all of them pale in significance to one of the simplest of them all – for the sheer pleasure of it. This is closely followed by the equally simple ‘why not?’. The truth is that the theatre is there for people to attend. Actors do not practice for weeks on end so no one will show up to their performances, directors do not push them to the limit just to fulfil their own sadistic fantasies, techies do not spend hours rigging up lights… you get the picture. The theatre should never be an exercise in artistic masturbation. There, I’ve said it.

Wellington has an incredibly vibrant theatre scene, and as an active Wellingtonian it is your job to go to the theatre. If people in Wellington didn’t go to the theatre then actors, directors, technicians and PR agents would all need jobs and Wellington would be inundated by cheap retail and hospitality staff. Then we, as students who rely on low paying hospitality and retail jobs, would starve. There is a very simple way to stop all the young, attractive, talented and creative people in Wellington from starving to death… go to the theatre (and giving Peter Jackson huge tax breaks helps a lot as well). Now, I understand that as students we are often tied to necessity by our purse strings but this need not restrict us too much. Almost all of the theatres in Wellington offer great deals for students, which means a trip to the theatre should only cost a couple of dollars more than a movie. The Fringe Festival, on at the moment, is a great opportunity to see quality, affordable theatre; most shows are between ten and fifteen dollars for students (see page 56 of this issue for more info).

While being a pleasure in its own right, the theatre also has a reputation for being a breeding ground for vice. What could be better? Sex, drugs, alcohol and the theatre… Not that I am condoning any of these things (apart from the theatre) but isn’t everything fun in moderation? Most theatres have a well stocked bar and in this respect BATS takes the cake. Also, if you are lucky enough to get tickets to a first night show there is often a free glass of bubbles on the way out, a bribe to possible reviewers [You can drink the wine if you want, but please don’t give into the bribe!– Ed.]. And as for the sex, I’m never too lucky in that regard but who knows? There is a first time for everything.

Because Wellington has such a healthy theatre scene there is always something on for everybody. A night out at the theatre is a great date, and is made even better with a decent meal beforehand. Be careful when selecting plays to go on a date, however. Avoid tragedies (in the traditional sense) because having everyone die in the final act will probably send the wrong message. Anything that looks funny should be hopeful but avoid stand up comedy too early in a relationship, trust me, it can be highly embarrassing. Boys dating girls should try to avoid musicals at all costs, regardless of how much you like them. Knowing all the words to Rocky Horror or Les Miserables might be just a little too suspect, try taking your gay friends instead and you are bound to have a wonderful time!

If your parents are coming down (or up) take them to the theatre, they will finally have to stop moaning about things like your student loan, you failing all of your summer papers, the fact that you are spending all of their money or any of the other bullshit that they always rave about when they come to Wellington for the weekend. Ah… two hours of peace. Who knows, you might just enjoy yourself! If you can’t decide what to take them to, try a Roger Hall play, there is usually one on somewhere. Try to get them to take you out to dinner first and always make them pay.

Now there is one extremely bad reason for going to the theatre. Do not under any circumstances attempt to go to the theatre in order to acquire wanker street cred. Trust me, you don’t need it… you all already have more than enough of your fair share. You are also sitting in the good seats that people with genuine motives could be using.

All I really want to say is make sure you go to the theatre at least once this year. If you enjoy it go again. I promise it is a highly enjoyable pastime. It is very easy as well, just follow my simple theatre six-step theatre programme: 1) Find a play that tickles your fancy; 2) Find a friend to go with you; 3) Choose a night; 4) Ring the theatre and try to book student tickets; 5) Go to the theatre; 6) Enjoy yourself. If you are really keen on theatre and interested in reviewing something, send me an email at <theatre [at] salient.org.nz> and I can organize tickets for upcoming plays. Have fun at the theatre this year.

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About the Author ()

HAILING FROM the upper-middle- class hell of Havelock North, Jules is in the final semester of a bachelor’s degree in Trenchermanship (majoring in Gourmandry), is a self-professed Anarcho-Dandy and resides in the Aro Valley. He likes to spend his days pursuing whimsical follies of every sort and his evenings gallivanting through the bars and restaurants of Wellington in search of the perfect wine list. He has unfailingly dedicated his life to the excessive consumption of food and drink (despite having no discernable way of paying for it), and expects to die of simultaneous heart and kidney failure at thirty-nine. His only hope is that very soon people will start to pay him for his opinions (of which he is endowed with aplenty). Jules has a penchant for vintage Oloroso.

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