Creativity is a value that is inherent in every individual, but only a few have gifts for art and entertainment. People entertain in different ways: playing games, sports, visiting movies and theatres. Likewise, theater plays consist of different genres. There are theater plays that focus more on music, some that primarily play drama and other stories, and others that primarily set dance performances, acrobatics and amazing body movements. One particular category of theatre performances is the “physical theatre”.
The word itself seems difficult to define since almost every kind of performance in a theatre includes physical movements; even musical plays often use some body movements to give more emphasis on the music it conveys. In the book “Through the Body”, Callery defines physical theatre as a theatre where the primary means of creation are performed by the body instead of the mind (4). Physical theatre is a performance where the ideas portrayed in it are expressed chiefly by means of physical movements instead of intellectual means such as singing and poetry. However, physical theatre does not necessarily mean that oral presentations no longer have to be involved. Oral means are rather secondary.
Pertaining to its history, physical theatre rooted from the Greek times. The words associated with it such as drama, tragedy, comedy, character, mime, episode, and more are Greek in origin (Brown). Theatres were first established during the times when the competition for influence and attention were prevalent in the rising civilizations. Many beautifully established public structures started to catch people’s attention; these include temples, arenas, and theatres. Thus, entertainment was already a part of human life those days. The theatrical performances were mostly in the form of songs and poetry. An example of this is the narration of the epic poetry Illiad and Odyssey. Unlike in the physical theatre, performances in this play are more focused on conveying ideas intellectually through songs, dramas, and poetic narrations. One may say that theatre presentations have evolved so drastically. Almost every form of entertainment shows even indecent things today. For example, many billboards along public roads and highways are already advertising underwear brands. Much worse, these advertisements include even an individual – a man or a woman – who actually wears the underwear. Movies as well include sex scenes, which is not at all a wholesome thing for people of old times. One example of decent performances in the theatres before is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Regrettably, today’s performances are not anymore as decent as before. Of course, this does not mean that all plays in any form of entertainment are indecent. However, most of today’s popular performers are including even indecent plays or scenes in their performances. Throughout the history of entertainment, there are individuals who are charged with indecency. In September 1968 for instance, it is recorded that the founders and directors of the play Paradise Now, who are Julian Beck and Judith Malina, were arrested for indecency (Wilmeth 149). Concerning today’s entertainment, the following discussion will be about the Frantic Assembly.
Frantic Assembly is a company known for producing quality entertainment. Frantic Assembly has extended its popularity throughout the UK and abroad, since its foundation in 1994. It has established its reputation as one of the “most exciting companies” (Perks and Porteous 99). Frantic Assembly is said to be producing entertainment in a more exciting, perhaps, energetic form. Their performance is full of the excitement and energy. It is evident analyzing the lightings of the scene, the intense body movements of the performers, and the high emotional speeches. The Generation Trilogy (1995-98), for example, Frantic Assembly’s play is remarked as having “highly skillful, high-energy movement sequences” (Kershaw and Thomson). The success of such company is proved by the fulfilled desire of the audiences for “rawer, more physically challenging performance forms” (Delgado and Svich). The method they use in producing entertainment plays seems to be unconventional. One example is that light effects contribute much unto how they present the plays. For instance, in consecutive flashes of light in their plays, performers’ location or posture changes, as well. Moreover, most of the music they use has energy-arousing feelings. Frantic Assembly also shows in a seemingly negative way indecent scenes like extreme kissing, nude actors. This may be one of their ways in producing entertainment; nevertheless, it is not very much good to observe.
However, there are some negative comments for today’s form of theater. Some say that the forms of what they call ‘physical theater’ are not actually conveyed in the performances today. Many entertainment critics and analysts comment that there are some movements and behaviors that are seen in performances, which does not fit to the nature of ‘physical theater’ at all. Including the Frantic Assembly, today’s ‘physical theatre’ tends to “defy conventional views of what really makes up a ‘theatre’” (Callery).
The evolution of entertainment, particularly the theatre performances, is very drastic. Anyone could attest that even in other things, adverse changes may occur. The quality of theatre plays and creative appeal to the audience have changed a lot. Like the Frantic Assembly, entertainment producers have their own ways and strategies in making entertainment for the public. Nevertheless, the quality assessment is upon the audiences – whether it is good or not.