High school theater, especially musical theater, has become so competitive. My daughter, who is a junior, was crushed to not be nominated this year for her theater awards and feels like she should just give up her dream. How do I encourage her while still letting her know that these awards aren't everything? — A Concerned Mother
Dear A Concerned Mother,
Actually, you should be concerned if she can't even get nominated for her high school's drama awards. Does she have a speech impediment? I have long maintained that the only way to truly have anything substantial to show for the theater work you've done is to get an award for it. If she's having trouble getting awards at this level she won't stand a chance at The Columns. So, you might want to take this as an opportunity to nip her dream in the bud. Nip it! Nip it! — YOURS, ARMIN
hey armin, i do theatre but like going to the movies more. should i be ashamed.
I think you should be ashamed of your punctuation and fear of the Shift key. As far as your preference for movies over theater, it just means you fall in with the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority. Movies are less formal and cheaper, sure. But really their greatest advantage is the control of focus. The camera moves you easily through the story, like my great grandmother led thousands of goats to slaughter. Focus on this. Zoom in on that. Cut to her sweaty face because the pain of the natural child birth in the back of a pick up truck is really what's important here.
In the theater, the most fleeting and difficult thing to do is to keep the audience's attention exactly where you want it. For all of our evolution we're still easily distracted; ape-like really. Seeing the whole picture in live theater opens up our senses to all kinds of distractions. That's why so much theater is (gasp!) boring. In film, the camera does more of the work for us and does it quickly. But, I've always said that I'd rather watch the best play in the world than the best movie but I'd also rather watch a bad movie than a bad play. Plays take energy and investment of self so when you see a great one it resonates like a tuning fork in your loins, and when you see a bad one it's just like a regular fork in your loins.
Movies are the safer bet, like American cheese. But theater is like a fine Limburger. It may be transcendent or it may make you vomit. — YOURS, ARMIN
I was in the audience with Laura Bush on her recent run of Dallas theater-going and wondered why old "Dubya" wasn't with her. Have you met our esteemed new neighbors? Do you have any thoughts on the type of play GW would like? — Apolitical
I'm thinking Go, Dog. Go! Maybe Goodnight Moon? — YOURS, ARMIN
Ask Armin something, via AskArmin@TheaterJones.com. Go on and ask. When he doesn't have enough queries to ponder, he bothers the hell out of the TheaterJones editor. Also, TJ doesn't stand by or even agree with all of Armin's advice. So don't hold us responsible if things go terribly wrong.
Also, Armin is now on Facebook. Friend him. And, again, don't blame us.