It's not the weirdest hobby in the world (I *could* be really into taxidermy) but it's something a lot of you probably don't know about me: I really love live theater. In some ways it's a medium that's become a bit outdated due to the fact that film is easier to access and can be enjoyed by far more people than a live performance, but I think that right now the intimacy of theater is its strength. It used to be that plays would be about broad stories- but television has that covered. I think live theater is at its best when it's specific, when the performers and crew craft a moment that can't be replicated.
Also... have you SEEN Sebastian Stan???
Okay no that's not really what it's about (for me anyway, you do you). I have a lot of strong opinions on the state of modern theater (I think Broadway prices are absurd but that's not a unique opinion), but here's some fun theater history you might not know about:
+In early American theater, there were some pretty strict rules about what you could and could not do onstage. One big one: Performers could not be naked. So they did things on stage that 'suggested' nudity: Women would show their bare ankles, and men would be topless.
+While we blame Disney for a lot of our messed up copyright laws, they weren't the first ones to use the legal system to block the creative process. Dion Boucicault famously took the concepts and plots of other plays (a common and accepted practice at the time), rewrote them, and then copyrighted them to make sure nobody could do the same to him. (D!ck move).
+Tallulah Bankhead was a stage actress who famously never showed up to rehearsals. When she did, it was usually to demonstrate that she was entirely off book, or to give scathing reviews of her costars' talents in the bedroom, which she had personally sampled.
+Shakespeare (that playwright that English teachers somehow manage to make sound boring as dirt) wrote the earliest 'your mom' joke that I am aware of.
CHIRON Thou hast undone our mother. AARON Villain, I have done thy mother. (Titus Andronicus, IV.ii.1764-65).
And I promise you, that is not even the best part of that play.
+Roman plays were absolutely ridiculous events. People would fight each other, women would rush the stage, people literally died over these performances. If you wanted a chill night out, you went to watch the gladiators kill each other.
+The style of acting we're used to now is actually *really* recent. Greek theater is where we get most of our traditions, and that began around 532 BC (in Athens, if you were wondering). And that's just Greece- there are some African theatrical traditions that date back to 2000 BC. It was during the 1900s that European actors and playwrights began exploring a type of performance that is subtle, non-allegorical, and naturalistic. What we would now consider to be 'hammy' or over the top has actually been the norm for centuries.
Finally, break a leg!
The origin of the term has been attributed to Elizabethan theater. At the time everyone wore stockings: The idea was that you would be bowing so much you'd tear your stockings, which is why people would encourage actors to 'break a leg' before a show. So don't take it literally.