Everyone knows about books and poetry collections, even Shakespeare. Theater is a part of literature that I feel is often overlooked except by specific groups of people. A lot of people have read Shakespeare – particularly Romeo and Juliet. Some have even gone to see a performance of that classic story.
Which brings me to theater performances.
Theater performances are a great way to bring a classic tale to life and bring it into perspective. Rather than reading the story, people who are interested in the story can see it before their very eyes, can really live through it without needing to visualize it in their mind.
And there are so many different groups that perform their own adaptions; take Romeo and Juliet, for example. How many different groups have performed that dramatic love story? Dozens? Hundreds?
Theater gives people a chance to see different actors portray it in their way. Readers or fanatics can watch different performances of the same tale and compare – figure out which one fits their view of it the best. Which one invokes the most feelings within them.
I once saw a performance of Romeo and Juliet. It was decent, but not quite what I expected of it, and included humor in spots that just didn’t fit. Does that mean I hate Romeo and Juliet? No, and that’s the beauty of theater performances. As I mentioned before, I can simply seek out a different group and see if their performance touches me more.
I’ve always enjoyed going to the theater, but never did it often; it’s time for that to change. On March 15th, I’ll be going to a performance of what is considered the best German literary work – Faust: Der Tragödie Erster Teil. In English, Faust: The Tragedy Part One. Part one of two, written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
For those who don’t know the story, it follows Faust, a scientist who dedicated his life to every form of science and has reached a point where he realizes he can’t accomplish any more and that all other aspects of life passed him by. He delves into magic, and soon makes a deal with the devil, Mephisto. He promises Mephisto his soul, if he can give him another chance at life, and show him the things he missed.
It is an intriguing story and a bit of searching can lead to finding many references. In the anime Shaman King, the character Faust VIII is said to be the descendant of the original Faust, who delved into “dark magic”.
The band Kamelot has two albums that follow the story of a man and his love, Helena, a name that plays a large part in Faust; the man makes a deal with Mephisto, that his soul will be his to take if he can show him the joys of life.
These are just two references I know of; all in all, it is a story I would definitely recommend. I’m glad to start my journey into theater performances with this inspirational story. We’ll see how it goes.
What is your experience with theater?