video broadcasts of plays more effective?

Perhaps I should amend my earlier post about seeing too much video projection in scripts and plays these days.

My friend Laura sent me this article –

It basically says that people are more emotionally connected when they watch a broadcast of a show than a live performance. Do people really emotionally engage with characters when they are on screen rather than on stage?

I think this study is flawed, as it doesn’t seem like the same group of people saw both a broadcast of a show AND a live show. And there are so many unaccounted for variables, like how far people were from the stage, how do you measure emotional engagement, etc.

I’m starting to think/worry that our brain chemistry is changing from all this staring at screens. Are we starting to associate connection and closeness with looking at monitors?

Anyhow – I guess the article begs the question – what is the future of theater in a world where we digest and connect best in front of a screen?


2 thoughts on “video broadcasts of plays more effective?

  1. This doesn’t really surprise me, oddly. I think it’s much harder to “see yourself as” or identify with a person emoting on stage than in a movie. The very presence of the real, live being is a fact that you can’t get around. It’s also so much harder to be in the moment on stage, for an actor to really seem to be the part they are playing.

    On a screen there are so many more things helping the actor – from the camera’s focus to the editor’s sharpness.

  2. Ah, interesting. I hadn’t thought of that idea of the live presence of a person doesn’t leave room for you to identify with them as much. They become the “other” in a sense.

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