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Why Plays Matter and are More Important Than Musicals

For centuries, plays have been a form of art that reflects society’s struggles, ideas, and beliefs. They have served as a platform to voice concerns, challenge authority, and inspire change. Some of the most celebrated playwrights of all time, including William Shakespeare, August Wilson, and Arthur Miller, have written plays that have stood the test of time. Despite the rise of the musical genre in recent years, plays are still essential to the theater industry. In this blog post, we will explore why plays are more important than musicals.

Artistic Integrity

As artists, playwrights have more artistic freedom than musical composers and lyricists. They can delve into complex themes and create nuanced characters that are thought-provoking and relatable. They have the liberty to write plays that are relevant to contemporary times while still staying true to their artistic vision. Musicals, on the other hand, are often constrained by the need for commercial success. They must appeal to a broader audience and have upbeat music and dance numbers, even if it does not align with the plot or themes.

Creative Challenges

Writing a play is an immensely challenging task. Without the aid of music and dance, playwrights must rely solely on their writing skills to captivate the audience and convey the message. They must create dialogue that is engaging and evokes strong emotions. Their creative process includes analyzing the structure, character development, and plot, which all must be finely crafted to produce a successful play. Musicals, on the other hand, are often criticized for their reliance on spectacle and not enough emphasis on the plot.

Cultural Timelessness

Theaters still produce ancient Greek plays, Shakespearean plays, and works from different eras because they remain relevant today. These plays, written centuries ago, still resonate with contemporary audiences. They reflect cultural, social, and political challenges of their time, which are still prevalent even today. They provide a historical perspective on societal issues, which is essential in shaping our understanding of our past, present, and future.

Quoting the Greatest Plays Ever Written

To emphasize the importance of plays over musicals, let us take a look at some of the most famous lines ever written.

From William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” is a soliloquy that reflects the existential struggles we face in life.

From Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” is a line that highlights the precariousness of life and importance of compassion.

From Athol Fugard’s Master Harold… and the Boys, “The only way to do it is to do it,” reflects the character’s determination to fight against all odds and succeed in life.

In conclusion, plays are more important than musicals because they serve as a reflection of our society and the human condition. They provide us with a profound understanding of our past and present and have cultural timelessness. Musicals are enjoyable forms of entertainment, but they have limitations in their artistic and creative liberties. For theater professionals, academics, playwrights, producers, actors, and theater fans, plays will always remain the cornerstone of the theater industry. So let us continue to appreciate and celebrate the art of playwrighting, for they create works that unveil the truth about our lives, and that is something that should never be undervalued.

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