listen now:
by JOHN H. LIENHARD, RICHARD ARMSTRONG, ANDY BOYD and ROGER KAZA
MOVIES AND TV


[Lienhard] Okay, guys. We can't quit without saying something about the play's modern cousins — about Movies and TV. Well, and radio. Radio theater was the only theater I knew as a child. I'll bet you didn't know that I listened to Orson Welles' War of the Worlds when it was first aired and it scared the pants off me.

[Armstrong] Well, John, I knew you were a relic; but that was much too long ago. You'd have to have been ...

[Lienhard] ... eight years old when the broadcast began. I had my first gray hairs when it ended. And the first movie I remember was the 1935 Werewolf of London. It made, shall I say, a very big impression on a five-year old. Radio, movies, and TV were game changers and we all knew it. Well, maybe they actually changed the game less than we might think.

[Armstrong] I guess every age creates the theater it needs. Greek theater responded to the need for a large religious festival, and for a democratic audience.

[Lienhard] Right. Every age creates the theater it needs — and deserves. Shakespeare tuned in to the shifting form of the English language beneath the salt, as we might say outside the palaces. He drew in and spoke to the masses while he kept the attention of the aristocracy.

[Boyd] So how does that work today? We have movies and TV but what face of you and me do they reflect?

[Armstrong] First off, we're all consumers! Our new media have made theater a product, something to be rapidly mass produced and sold across the world.

[Lienhard] Interesting. So you're linking the texture of theater today with speed, I guess. Our stories ebb and flow far faster than ever before. And yet the stories we tell aren't all that different from the ones we've always told, are they?

[Boyd] ... Human beings loving, killing, cheating, giving, triumphing, ...

[Kaza] Singing their laments, battle hymns, glorias & magnificats ... grief and passion.

[Armstrong] Smiling, smiting, prancing, preening, embracing, ... as well as signaling what's on their minds, though it might not be upon their tongues.

[Lienhard] Well! With that, gentlemen, I'm off to watch the TV show I've been following. Greek theater, Shakespeare — or Star Trek — It all seems to be just old wine in new skins. So, let us draw down our own curtain and bid our gentle audience good morrow.


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