the way of theatre is better than the way of politics
Today, I was thinking the way of theatre is "better" than the way of politics. Better for what? Better in seeking out truth.
What is truth in theatre? There is the truth and authenticity of emotions, the truth about human nature, the truth about lies the characters tell themselves or entrap others in... There are many ways of depicting truth in theatre - a set of actions on-stage, and sometimes offstage (including the lack of action or silence); the different perspectives of all the characters in a play, sometimes voiced in a soliloquy and sometimes revealed in gesture and the body; there is truth as defined by the narrative of the storyteller in power, or as told by that irritating know-it-all Greek chorus...
In theatre, words and its alignment or dissonance with action are part of the dramatic tension. Both audiences and actors know therefore that words are immensely powerful but can be immensely corrupt, or rather, corruptible.
Theatre ultimately does not seek to destroy, I think, unless it is to dismantle hatred and argue a better way forward. I like to think that since man intuitively seek the truth (as with justice, it is that part of us made in the image of God), theatre therefore is one of man's many inventions for seeking truth. But it is a method or way that is aware of its own fallibility, knowing how difficult or elusive or slippery that truth can be in the hands of man.
What is the value of seeking truth through theatre? That we become wiser. That we gain knowledge of ourselves. That we act in future to make better decisions for others. That we satisfy man’s innate sense of justice. Tragedy is therefore when that sense of justice is thwarted - for reasons you see too clearly but cannot avert. A comedy is when that sense of justice is satisfied, inevitably and too perfectly. A romance when it is furthered - magically, miraculously, but often with a cost - just minutes away from tragedy.
Theatre may sometimes be pretty badly done but I think it is seldom a complete waste of time or money. On average theatre starts and ends in 1.5, sometimes 3 hours or even 8, but almost never 27 hours or more of punishing futility.
Today, I was thinking the way of theatre is "better" than the way of politics. Just "better". I wish very naively the way of politics was more productively focused on the betterment of fellow man. But that intent is endlessly corrupted - by even the intent itself.