The Germans say was fuer ein Theatre when they want to criticize all the hype over something insignificant. To me the expression conjures up people in costume leaping about and making violent speeches. I suppose that is the impression it is supposed to give.
I had a night out at the theatre recently. I went to see Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband at the Everyman in Cork. It was a great night out. Very different from the usual popcorn munching visits to the cinema, it was what can only be described as an occasion. You don't go to the theatre wearing jeans and a t-shirt, or at least I feel you shouldn't! It's a great excuse to dress up. In fact, I could just imagine ladies in long evening dresses accompanied by black-coated gentlemen sitting in the plush seats or occupying the balconies. Oscar Wilde's sparkling dialogue coupled with the sumptious costumes of the players made for a wonderful evening. Interestingly I noticed a lot of young people in the audience who seemed to be enjoying themselves hugely. The outdated language didn't seem to faze them and they laughed at all the little innuendos which make up Wilde's style.
This is what our "must have it all now" society misses out on. Oscar Wilde's wit would be thrown away on a tiny screen or even on a big screen. "Ah, nowadays people marry as often as they can, don't they" says Lady Markby in An Ideal Husband, "it is most fashionable." This line is hilarious on stage but I imagine that being seen on film with a possible close up of the speaker would spoil it considerably and on a very small screen it would be lost completely. It is the flesh and blood presence of the actors that makes Wilde's plays so amusing.
I came away from the Everyman smiling to myself and determined to go to the theatre more often. I picked up their programme for the first half of the year and there are many performances I'd like to attend. That is what I call entertainment.