Bryan J. Albertson
Nobody really knows where or when theater started. Some posit that it was initially a way to help understand what was going on in the world, “why has it rained so much?” “why isn’t it raining enough?” Maybe they thought that portraying an event for all to see would appease some all-knowing and all-seeing deity. Whatever the exact reason theater, even today has been used to express what has happened, what is happening, or even possible what will happen in life. This is a constant in almost all cultures. They type of theater may vary, the place of theater may vary, but in the end, theater reflects the culture or lives of the people performing.
The types of theater throughout the world are as varied as they are numbered. Each culture throughout history and even different cultures at the same era have used theater to express not only the extraordinary but also the everyday lives of those who are performing as well as those who watch the performance. Theater today is no different; in fact, it is even more so as the cultures of the world become more connected through modern technology. These connections allow for theaters large and small to show these different cultures in ways that weren’t possible even a decade ago.
Explosions of performances in all forms of theater have occurred. These explosions are now connecting the world through the cultures that spawned them. Audiences are able to see cultures from Africa, Asia, even Australia in Europe and North America; the reverse is also true. Large professional theater groups with vast stages are not the only ones doing this. Community theaters in places like South America are showing cultures from across the globe. You can even find schoolhouse theaters bringing American pop culture to places high in the Swiss Alps.
More importantly, the values of cultures are now being seen across continents through the multitude of new technologies. Live streaming is now allowing the casual viewer to understand the importance and values of unknown cultures in the comfort of their own homes. Those who are too old or too young to attend theater the traditional ways can now watch these performances live or tapped and still glean the message of the cultures behind them.
As the world grows smaller each day due to the technologies that are quickly becoming commonplace, theater is growing. So too are the ways that cultures interact and intersect, they are expressed through theater, and thus these expressions allow for more people to come into contact with an unknown culture and make the world that much more connected. This was one reason theater came into being; this is also one-way theater is growing going forward.