Broadway's 'Come From Away' Is A Must-See And Here's Why.

If You Haven't Seen Broadway's 'Come From Away', I Suggest You Go Do That Right Now

Not only will you laugh and cry, but you'll hear a new side of a heartbreaking event.

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to see 'Come From Away' on Broadway in New York City.

Set in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, 'Come from Away' tells the story of the thirty-eight planes diverted to land when the United States closed their airspace following the September 11 attacks. A small town with a population of roughly 9,000 people almost doubled overnight. The residents of Gander took on the responsibility of providing housing, food, clothes, toiletries, and whatever else the people needed. The plot also followed the lives of several specific travelers and residents of Gander merged together, resulting in some lifelong friendships.

I was almost two years old, living in New York City when the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers occurred, so I do not remember the horror that followed. I have heard stories from my parents and other adults who remember exactly what those moments and days felt like. As I sat in the audience of this show, I felt as I was watching this horrific event unfold right in front of my eyes. The cast demonstrated such emotion with which the story was brought to life.

While the show discusses a deeply upsetting topic, the story of Gander's role in these events shows a brighter side of humanity. The residents of this small town display such effort and compassion towards the travelers that day, doing everything in their power to make them comfortable and provide them with resources and support during such a dark time for the United States. 'Come From Away' sheds light on the friendships and connections that people formed with one another as a result of a terrible tragedy. The plot even included a scene at the end of the musical that showed how on the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the small town of Gander opened up again as those who got stuck there in 2001 returned to reunite with those who helped them in a dark time. There are so many incredible scenes displaying the great character of these people, but I do not want to spoil anything.

As well as discussing a tough topic that brought tears to many members of the audience, including myself, 'Come From Away' also provided comedic relief. I do not think I would describe the show as comedy, but the banter and funny lines sprinkled in the dialogue made for a pleasant relief from the trauma and loss that filled the other scenes. Additionally, the cast consisted of people from all different ethnicities, religions, and age groups. This inclusivity and diversity also contributed to the accuracy of the event because everyone from all over was affected by the tragedies of the 9/11 attack.

I could go on and on about all of the reasons that you should see 'Come From Away', but I want to stray from spoilers. All I can do is encourage you to do yourself a favor and go see this show. As much as it discusses the tragedy that greatly affected America, it is also a feel-good show. I have seen many Broadway shows during my lifetime, and I can honestly say that 'Come From Away' takes over as my favorite one. You will not be disappointed.

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The Differences Between Live Theatre And Film

Film actors and stage actors aren't really that different... are they?
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Everyone has seen a movie and knows how amazing they can be. Theatre can also be amazing, just in different ways. Live theatre and film are similar in some respects but they are very different art forms. Theatre is familiar, larger than life, and lacking in special effects, whereas film has new material, less dramatic and obvious acting, and can be edited to show anything that is needed. Theatre and film are both visual art forms containing actors portraying characters, have scripts, and are widely appreciated, but they are not meant for the same place or people.

The biggest difference between live theatre and film is the location of the audience. On stage, the audience is far off and as they must be able to see and hear a performance to enjoy it, performers must act for the back row. This creates a larger than life performance which only works onstage. Whereas in films, the camera can always see you and the microphone can always hear you. Therefore, you do not have to act so over-the-top. Instead, doing less than you would in real life would be better. In fact, David Patrick Green states in his article, "The 3 Major Differences Between Stage and Screen Acting," that “reality is less enhanced when a camera and microphone become involved. In fact, due to camera-work, score, lighting, and other effects, it is sometimes better to do less than you would in real life because so many things are augmenting your performance.” In theatre, projection of your voice is a constant need, whereas in film you could whisper and the microphone would pick it up. Lloyd Kremer states in his article, "Theatre for the Film Actor," “Theatre is also much more demanding of the various vocal disciplines: volume, projection, and enunciation. In film work, many of these concerns are relegated to the Sound Man.”

Theatre is familiar in that the roles being portrayed have most likely been portrayed several times before, and the characters are very well known by the audience and the actors. Whereas in film, the characters with rare exceptions are being created for the first time. This makes portraying a movie character much easier than portraying a character in a play or musical. Green also states in his article, “the audience and critics will compare you to past versions of the same show. Because many stage characters have been played over and over, there is only so much leeway an audience will accept before they start to complain.” For instance, if Hamlet came onstage and said “To be, or to not be,” the audience would be enraged that you dared mess up a famous line of Shakespeare. Whereas in film, if you mess up a line the only people who will know are you and the people on set with you. Theatre is also familiar in that it gives actors plenty of time to get acquainted with their characters with rehearsal, but with film, that is not the case. As Eugene states in his article, "Stage vs. Screen: What's the Big Difference?" “...you will receive very little, if any, rehearsal time. Depending on the size of the role, you may not receive any direction. Films hire actors under the assumption that they will come to set performance-ready.”

Theatre and film are also very different in writing. Plays are written and then directors get ahold of the play script and adapt it to fit their stage and actors and sometimes even give it a bit of a modernized twist, whereas the screenplay for a film can be in revision as the acting is happening. For television shows, the scripts are written as the show is happening and the actors can get the script revisions while they are filming, whereas in theatre, the script is already written and no major revisions can really be made. In plays, every character has a description and it is the director’s job to decide how they want to interpret that onstage, whereas, in film, the director more or less makes up the character’s description. Lenore DeKoven says in the chapter “Directing: The Similarities and Differences between Film and Theatre” of her book, "Changing Direction: A Practical Approach to Directing Actors in Film and Theatre", that “...the director’s work calls for an overview of the material and an awareness of the throughline and outlines for each character…”

Live theatre is very unpredictable. Anything can happen when you are onstage and it is an actor’s job to just roll with whatever happens and keep going. After all, “the show must go on.” Julia Kelso shows in her article, "Theatre vs Film: What’s the Difference?" many different things that could go wrong, such as “...an actor completely forgetting a line, a prop being misplaced, or that one stubborn section of the set breaking in the middle of a monologue.” On camera, you can redo the same scene as many times as you like, so you never have to worry about forgetting a line or tripping over something on the set.

Live theatre and film are very different art forms, meant for different audiences, yet both are essential to an actor and having experience in both often helps better your acting. Theatre is familiar to people, while film is brand new. Plays are written and then adapted, while screenplays are adapted while they are being written, and theatre is unpredictable and actors have to be flexible and willing to work through whatever happens, whereas with film, you get as many chances as you need for things to be perfect.
Cover Image Credit: henry edwards 2, now here this respectively

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Getting A Degree In The Arts Is Just As Important As Getting A Degree In Medicine

To the people that think an arts degree is useless.

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As graduation slowly approaches, I've gotten the question: "What are you going to do now?" While it's normal to get that question from faculty, family, and friends, the subtext behind the question is different for me than it is for others. I am an actor about to graduate with my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from a top ten university. It's impressive, regardless of what major, to be attending such a prestigious school, but because I study a non-traditional major the question "What are you going to do now?" really means "What's your plan B?".

Any career in fine arts, whether it's photography, acting, or playing an instrument, has a stereotype that it is not sustainable or considered to just be a "hobby". And while yes, it is hard to pursue a career in the arts, it's hard in any field to get a sustainable job. Just because the fine arts can be a hobby or something to do "just for fun" doesn't mean it's not as serious as any other career. Artists work hard and have a responsibility to society to create content, and it usually takes longer than your typical 9-5 job to get it done. In addition, artists can't just "leave their work at the door" when they get home. Their responsibility as artists is carried with them through all aspects of their lives. And here's something that not everyone seems to understand: artists make what they do look easy. Behind their beautiful artwork is hours of blood, sweat, and tears, but all audiences and consumers usually see is just the finished project. So while fine arts majors aren't studying "core" subjects in a traditional way, they are still working hard to perfect their craft.

Art also has a major impact on society. Many aspects of art are used for entertainment, but it can be educational, therapeutic, and informational too. Art can communicate and connect others in a way that language can not. It brings people from numerous backgrounds and cultures together and gives them a reason to connect. It can create emotion, cause a reaction, and change perspectives with just a stroke of a paintbrush or a pointed foot. Art is used in physical therapy, scientific experiments, classrooms, protests, and debates. Without the fine arts, the world would lose an outlet for communication.

So when people ask me, "What are you going to do now?", I can't help but smile. Regardless of what people think about my major or the fine arts, I know I am making a difference in my community. I am going to break boundaries, take risks, and work my hardest at making this world a better place through my craft. So no, I do not have a plan B. I do not regret studying art in a mainstream university. And I do not think I am making a mistake.

I know what I am doing is important.

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