A Litany of Reasons for Reading Plays

Plays don’t have to be performed to
entertain, amuse, enlighten,
and enrich our lives

Theatre, live on stage, while to my mind
more potent and humane than faith in God,
in truth is nothing more than
a playwright’s script played out by actors
in costume under a paper moon.

It’s Spectacle,
the last and least of Aristotle’s
Elements of Drama

Plot, Character, Meaning, Language, and Rhythm
are all in the words.

Plays are Literature

All creative writing is
One of the Big Three: Poetry, Prose, and Drama.
If  we don’t see plays, we’re dramatically illiterate.
Unless we read them.

Plays are just as rich in plot and character as novels, sad and funny,
meaningful, absorbing, moral, literary—
only plays consist exclusively of people talking to each other.
Tailor-made for quality time with friends,

Furthermore, for the first 2000 years of Western Civilization—
from the Ancient Greeks to the Industrial Revolution—
most people learned about the world from plays and players.
(They couldn’t read.).

And plays are short.
10-minutes (several over lunch) to 2-3 hours (or more).

Did you know Reading Aloud Builds Up the Brain?
(better speaking habits, self-confidence)

And, more profoundly,
Reading plays makes human beings more humane.
(Even if you’re only reading, you’re still
being someone else—walking in another person’s shoes.)

Plays connect us to our cultural history,
from their religious roots in the Golden Age of Greece
to their prohibition for a thousand years by Christian Rome,
to their medieval Church revival, flourishing into Shakespeare…

These are but a few of the reasons plays are just as good as
(and in some ways far, far better than)
not only poetry and prose, but anything else we do in our free time
from Pokemon Go to Sunday School.

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