Truly excellent theatre is a transforming experience. So transforming that I’d go so far as to call it a religious experience. By saying this I don’t intend to be blasphemous, but, insofar as God created this world so that everything points to Him, theatre is as close to heaven as a person can get here on earth, the Sabbath not withstanding.
Our lives are just a minuscule part of the One, Great Story, written by the Divine Playwright. Excellent theatre reflects His story. It pulls out one of the many threads, examines it, expounds on it, and causes us to search for those threads in our everyday lives. It snatches characters from swathes of humanity and exaggerates archetypes for our entertainment and edification. It is putting the magnifying glass to God’s work of Creation and causing others to wonder at it.
But why theatre, especially? Why not film, or television, or music even? Because theatre is up close, in your face, live, and in person. It is more real. The energy – the life – is palpable because it’s right there in front of your face – oftentimes no more than ten feet away – and you absolutely can’t deny it. Those are real tears you see and you’re almost close enough to wipe them away with your own hand. That fire in his eyes can and will burn through your soul. The tragedy, comedy, and reality you see displayed before your very eyes is enough to transform your perspective on the tragedy and comedy in your own life, and praise God accordingly.