Gus Cuddy | Essays:

Theatre and time

17 November 2018

Theatre is our most potent exploder of time, because it is the only art form (and I include dance, music performance—-any sort of performance on a stage) that includes a commitment of time from both audience and performer.

We are witnessing time over the course of time. In all its ugliness and impotence. The contents of a play may jump around time, be non-linear or take course over the span of several years. But we sit for those 90 minutes, those two hours, and we watch. And we’re watching time—real human beings move through time.

Theatre is always now, and the best theatre takes full advantage of this. The best theatre excavates the space between then and now—the tension at play between this present moment and the contents of the play, and all of us in the room together, an experience that will fade away shortly, into nothingness, like all time does. The best theatre juggles all that.

The best theatre deals with time.