A passing stage?
A rambling by Tom Knapp,
April 1994

The future of theater depends on us.

Actor D.D. Delaney reflected on the future of live drama before ending 15 active years on the Lancaster, Pa., theater scene in favor of new challenges in the Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va, area. "Theaters aren't really doing well," he said. "I don't think that's any big secret."

It's an art that can't survive in a void, Delaney said. "It depends on people. Theater is nothing without an audience." Otherwise, actors are just talking to themselves.

The loss is a tragedy for society at large, he said. "We're losing a bit of our culture. Children aren't being educated in theater. People aren't being drawn to it." Education should play a role, he said. Schools have the power to foster an appreciation of the arts in their students "but that's not happening. Instead, funding is being cut back and, let's face it, there is a censorship problem."

The best way to keep the final curtain from falling is to remind people how unique live theater is.

"It's up to theater to get it across to people that this is an experience you just can't have on a VCR, on the tube or even in a movie theater," Delaney said. "When live theater is really crackling, there's nothing like it. It becomes a peak experience."

Perhaps it's time to turn off the TV for an evening and take in a play.

[ by Tom Knapp ]