12 Miles West

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Should Live Theater Use a Rating System?

Going to the Theater is a cultural experience for the whole family. Children especially can benefit from the perception of the stage. Intriguing levels of mystery and creativity enchant audiences of all ages. When looking for potential shows to fill your Theater card, there will be a dreamy variety of performances to peer. We are accustomed to relying on the system of the MPAA and parent’s guides for ratings before we see a movie. They offer clear and insightful indications of what can be expected during a film. Live Theater performances do not currently apply a Rating System. The titles will not generally offer audience selections or the typical PG or R Ratings you might skim for.

Rating a Performance

There are a few reasons the Theater has yet to implement a specific rating guide. Through trial and error of past attempts, they have learned Theatrical aspects differ from the parameters found in films.

Scenes of Interpretation – In a presentation, not all scenes are created equal. Each storyline has a referencing point that can be left to the perception of the audience. How they feel about a specific section will vary greatly depending on the person. One individual may find offense or disagreement with the scene while the next person holds an opposite opinion.

Drama of the Stage – When trying to determine the level of drama inside of one script, it would have to be broken down scene by scene. Collaborating the depth of drama involved is based on perception over intention. Romance, death and misfortunes have the potential to be a either a small role or a large part throughout the show.

Theatrical Presence – The Theater offers an opportunity for creative endeavors to enliven the imagination. Characters are brought to the center of attention with all of the possibilities the Theater offers. Performers, directors and crew members put their heart and time into each production. There may be slight variances which is known to occur in live theater. Unforeseen events and unplanned circumstances can lead a scene in another direction. This cannot be predicted in advance to solidify a true rating.

Rating Standards – With so many intricate details involved in Rating standards, defining a system for the Theater would be nearly impossible. The only measurable content would involve direct nudity or physically amorous scenes that are not usually privy to improv. The rest of the guidelines are fitting for films yet too broad for the stage. Ratings should be based solely on the facts of the final results. Live Theater is an ongoing production with numerous dates on the calendar.

Family Friendly Alternatives – Many of the shows themselves will have a description available. Some will recommend age groups although this has led to some critical reviews from those who did not agree. A general overview can give you a few leads and answers. Social media, review sites and a critics pages are simple to find in the matter of minutes.