Devices Down, Curtains Up2 min read

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Devices Down, Curtains Up2 min read

photo by Maia Zimmers

photo by Maia Zimmers

photo by Maia Zimmers

Maia Zimmers, Reporter

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As you sit at home binge-watching “The Office” for the 100th time, you could be watching a similar story, but live, feeling energy pump through the room as the story unravels. You could be bettering your social and emotional skills. You could be watching theater.

Theatrical productions tell unique stories and in order to see one, all you have to do is find a show, buy a ticket, and go.

We, as students in the Washington, D.C. area, are close to some of the best theaters in the country. Roundhouse Theater even allows students above the age of 13 to see shows for free. Plus, seeing a student production at a local high school is low cost, and high schools usually have many great shows in the fall and spring.

Theatrical productions are usually no longer than two hours, so taking time out of your day to see a production every once and awhile is not a time suck.

In research published by Education Next, students who watched live theater were found to have a greater ability to read others’ emotions than students who did not watch live theater.

I still remember watching the last scene in “The Diary of Anne Frank” at Olney Theatre. The show ends with Anne’s father, Otto, crying about how he lost his entire family. Watching him break down sobbing, tears flooding onto the floor, has stuck with me because it made me feel more connected to my Jewish roots, much more than any Holocaust movie or tv show ever has. By seeing something that felt so real, I was able to understand why it is so important to feel proud to be Jewish.

Aside from the emotional benefits, watching theater also has many academic benefits.

Theater has been proven to improve reading comprehension and both verbal and nonverbal communication skills. On the 2005 SAT, students involved in drama did better than students not involved in the arts by an average of 65 points in the verbal component and 34 points in the math component, according to the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.

Many of us worry over how we will fulfill the arts requirement. Well, you can stop your worrying. Watching theater is a great way to fulfill this arts requirement, plus the added benefits of potentially enhanced SAT scores and greater comprehension of other people’s emotions.

Seeing a professional production is one point worth of arts activities and the arts graduation requirement requires ten points of arts activities. So, by seeing two or three theatrical productions each year, you can have the arts requirement checked off of your to-do list in no time.

With all of the emotional, academic, and art-requirement-fulfilling benefits of watching theater, theatrical productions are worth the watch. So, if you have the opportunity to see any theatrical production, I highly suggest that you take it.

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