Looking at some posters of the oncoming movies, we always see a strong tendency to bringing whatever is popular on the screen. There is always something romantic, thrilling, and fascinating with special effects. Cinema is a multibillion-dollar industry, and producers must create the show that most people would take interest in. Theater is already a niche entertainment. It is oriented at those appreciating classical arts or at old theater-lovers. Though love and romance is a common topic in many plays, they still show many more sides of human interaction. Classical topics for plays are built around love and death, jealousy and treachery, conflicts and miscommunication between people. However, with the popularization of theatrical performance, these trends can change. Clearly, theater cannot remain in the center of entertainment concentrating around classical pieces for a long time. Trends change, and theater has to move on either. In a possible scenario, stage directors will refer to more touching topics that the mass audience cares about. In this case, they can overuse romance, political rivalry, or domestic fights. However, it could help directors to bring younger audience to their establishment and encourage cinema-lovers to pay attention to theater as well. Orientation at the mass audience is only one possible prospect for the development of theater. There are other options, such as shifting towards the interactive theater. In this case, theater will become an activity, but not a performance. Whichever way modern theatrical establishments choose, they cannot escape a change in their repertoire. Here we can expect more romance and also social issues. Most people are interested in what is going on in the world, and social realism will likely gain more popularity in arts.
Actors are ordinary people, like everyone else, especially when it comes to superstitions. Plenty of things can go wrong during the performance so that actors have been seeking for protection of the supernatural since the Renaissance. Just like our everyday life superstitions, theatrical beliefs are weird and funny. All of them, however, have a realistic origin. It is not difficult to trace back many theatrical superstitions as they all concern the life on stage. Walking behind the scenes, we can hear actors wishing each other “break a leg”. A theatrical substitute for “good luck”, this expression might have plenty of origins. In the Elizabethan times, the term meant bowing to the public, and later to break a leg” meant to come to the stage and get paid. Another well-known fact is that actors believe in ghosts. In many theaters, there is still a tradition to put the ghost light – a single lit bulb in the center over the stage. There is a legend about the first Greek actor – Thespis – whose ghost still brings chaos to theaters. Today, leaving the light on does not only protect from ghosts but also helps technicians move over the theater without breaking their necks. Some mysterious rules from the stage life seem just silly. But even they made sense centuries ago. There is no whistling in the theater, and the tradition has nothing to do with the money. In Shakespearean times, backstage crews consisted of sailors who communicated with each other whistling. An occasional whistle could make the decorations fall where they do not belong. There is also no real money or real jewelry on stage, which prevents theft.
The rivalry between film and theater has started almost a century ago. By the 1950s, the movie industry developed first special effects that made cinema so unlike a stage performance. For all these years, moviemaking reached tremendous success as people hit box offices all over the world. Like any other classic art, theater certainly did not die away. It still pleases the fans of live performance – the option unavailable in movies, no matter how advanced they are. Still, the popularity of cinema is absolute. Movie theaters, official movie websites, and especially sources of pirated content have millions of visitors daily. Skyrocketing popularity of movies is caused by several major factors. Movies cover the broadest variety of plots, including fantasy, horror, sci-fi, comics, and cartoons. All popular culture is there, which cannot be said about theatrical performances with their classical or modern eccentric motives. Thank to highly-developed visual effects, we have plenty of surreal movies that look stunning. Theaters are rather limited by their presentation and motives; their settings always remain very conventional and classic. The last word for the popularity of movies say their high availability and accessibility. We can watch a film in the movie theater or on websites, like Netflix, anytime anywhere. We do not need to wait until a movie is staged to visit some particular theater then. Importantly, both movies and plays have aesthetic value. Our choice, therefore, is very subjective. But cinema is often oriented at the mass audience, while theater gradually becomes a niche form of entertainment.
Being an actor or actress is a prestigious job all over the world. Film production is particularly strong in economic superpowers, like the United States, Canada, China, and United Kingdom. Here one can get a high-quality acting education and earn a living being a professional actor. We often hear people say acting is an inborn talent; there are a few actors as persuasive and charismatic in their roles as Audrey Hepburn or Anthony Hopkins. Nevertheless, mastery in acting does not come down merely to talent. One needs to work hard and be lucky to get into a professional filmmaking. Acting is not a particular gift, and everyone cannot become an actor. One requires a clear psychological predisposition to performance, the capacity to create the imagery and to believe in what they have created. Acting is always a delusion, and the level of one’s mastery depends on how natural they are impersonating someone else. For every actor it will be difficult to play the psycho-type they do not know well. Acting supposes constant learning so that even mature actors often work hard to get a particular role. In acting, we also have a technical side of the profession. The ability to play in a specific location with a particular crew is the craft that can be learned only on set. Making a movie is not always such a great fun we can imagine, and actors have to be emotionally and physically durable. Whether one has the talent or they do not, actors must be fit and ready for challenges. In brief, actors are not average people. They have a flexible mind; they can affect and be affected themselves when necessary. Actors are well-aware about their own personality and personalities of others. And most important, actors are passionate about being someone else. Actors can see something of themselves in the characters they play.
Projected titles have obviously popularized opera as a form of art. Many people would hesitate about watching opera because it goes in Italian, French, or German. Frankly, we end up bored after listening to the lyrics we cannot understand for a couple of hours. After projected titles first appeared in the 1980s, theatergoers were supposed to get the full access to understanding and appreciating opera. But did they really appreciate the novelty? And are projected titles really as good as we think? Having enhanced comprehension of the plot, subtitles pull us back from the music we hear. Years ago, opera was about classical music in the first place. Today, projected titles dissociate the audience from opera as a musical piece making people search for translation. Stage performance is another important part of the opera that we trade for projected titles. Actions of the characters talk for themselves, and ignoring actors is not good for enjoying and understanding opera. Titles distract us from what is going on at the stage and hide small details that matter from our view. But what is least pleasant, subtitles make us multitask. We are aware of how important every component of the opera is, and we try to watch, read, and listen at the same time. Though opera is more than just lyrics, we cannot deny their importance either. It would be wise to read the story before we go to see it played at the stage. By itself, opera conveys drama and emotions besides the plot, so it is better to get at least a basic idea of who are the characters and what is happening between them. In such case, no subtitles are necessary, and the audience can relax and enjoy the performance in full.
By now, the humankind developed the variety of materials, styles, and techniques for making sculpture. Influenced by other types of art, particularly painting and literature, sculpture always reflected tastes of the time. From classical Apollos to Cubists’ collages, sculptors’ artwork reflects how people perceive the world around them. Is it beauty or rejection that we seek? Do we need to conform to the norms of the time or create our own norms? Artists give even more answers in their paintings and sculptures. Once modernists took a very bold step dissociating themselves with anything created ever before. Personalities like Pablo Picasso or Marcel Duchamp were criticized for their art because it did not look beautiful and mastery. In a while, Abstraction, Surrealism, Futurism, and Installation dominated exhibitions all over the world. By the 1960s, Abstract expressionism, Geometric abstraction, and Minimalism transformed the notion of sculpture. Welded constructions became no less common than marble or granite sculptures, and artists finally escaped from the pressure of the form. Among the contemporary trends in sculpture, we still have Minimalism and Installation. Geometrical objects without any particular details make us pay attention to shape and color. Author’s of installations try to change our space perception. Conceptual sculpture is another modernist invention that remains popular. Random objects arranged in an installation convey some idea without looking very artistic. Among the contemporary forms of art, we have video art, environmental art, and light sculpture. Some sculptors talk about printing out objects of art on 3D printers. In fact, people appreciate hand-made artistic objects much more than readymades or something that is not unique. We also appreciate things we cannot possess. Ice sculpture, for example, stands at the top of craftsmanship though we cannot exhibit it everywhere.
Auguste Rodin stood at the beginning of modern sculpture even though his artworks looked very classic. He was linked to Michelangelo regarding his style, but Rodin’s technique was quite different from that of the classical artists. First, he rejected classical myths traditionally taken as motives for the academic sculpture. Rodin took simple human prototypes for his sculptures, giving them the real imperfections of the modern individual. In his art, Rodin was inspired by poets, especially Dante Alighieri. Rodin’s most iconic works, such as “The Gates of Hell”, “The Thinker”, and “The Kiss”, all originate from Dante’s “Divine Comedy”. “The Thinker” was originally supposed to represent Dante himself as a part of the larger composition in “The Gates of Hell”. “The Gates” was meant to become the doors to Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, and Rodin took the idea from Dante’s “Inferno”. The figures in the Gates all rendered grief and pain of Dante’s characters, and the Thinker (meaning Dante) sat at the top of the sculpture gazing at the scenes of hell pictured below. Complex as its literary prototype, “The Gates of Hell” was never completed in the Rodin’s life. Instead, Rodin enlarged the figure of Dante and made it into an independent sculpture. Apart from the original meaning, “The Thinker” became an image of philosophy and knowledge. Another Rodin’s sculpture inspired by “Divine Comedy” is “The Kiss”. Originally, the artwork was named “Paolo and Francesca”, after Dante’s characters that were the prototypes. The figure did not suit “The Gates of Hell”, but still, Rodin widely promoted it. The artist’s point was not only to create realistic sculptures but also to make them widely available.
Ice sculpture is not something you can collect and exhibit at the museum. Nevertheless, the ice art created at the international championships looks more sophisticated than anything carved from marble or granite. Competitors from all over the world come to the World Ice Arts Championships held annually in Fairbanks, Alaska. Here they create realistic or abstract sculptures from nothing but ice using any tools they have at hand to carve ice without destroying it. They can create single-block or multiple-block sculptures according to their skills and abilities. For many, ice sculpture has become a fascinating activity on the verge of art and sport. Complex ice sculptures, such as “Mysterious Pearl”, “Fighter”, or “Surfacing Kingfisher”, all presented at the Alaska Championship, require the highest level of mastery to carve. Their artistic value equals the experience and craftsmanship of every single person participating in carving. However, ice carving looks more like a sport. Artists regularly meet to compete for a limited time in tough conditions to produce the artwork that cannot be used any longer. The icy artwork shall be appreciated by the judges and reviewed on the web. The tradition of carving ice into something different started thousands of years ago. Back then, people built ice shelters in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. During the Middle Ages, ice sculptures were a part of the feast at the tables of noblemen. Today cities all over the world host ice carving events of any scale.
Abstract art is definitely hard for understanding. We hesitate whether to appreciate objects like a signed urinal or a sculpture that does not look like anything you have seen in this world. It can be fantastic or disgusting, depending on the imagination of the audience. Looking at a piece of art for the first time, we can hardly guess what pushed the artist to create something that bold. In most cases, modern artists were inspired by their personal experiences and life events. One of the fathers of French Modernism, Marcel Duchamp had a unique perception of art. Duchamp developed his particular taste yet as an art student. His parents were so fond of classic art that little Marcel did not get a chance to discover the other art that existed in the early 1900s. Later, his teachers ingrained Duchamp resentment to modern art through their lectures. However, Marcel became greatly interested in the modern art as he got on with his brother Jaques Villon. Duchamp’s first exhibition did not spark in the world of art, and it was the precise stimulus that pushed Marcel to provoke and outthink his colleagues. Despite his provocative installations, Duchamp left the world of art as he matured. His stressful approach to everything he did played a wicked game with the artist. Another example of the artist influenced by their life experience was Louise Bourgeois. Her father was not faithful to his wife, and the family often suffered from his rage. Young Louise graduated from prestigious Parisian art schools, contrary to her father’s desire. In response to her traumatic childhood, Bourgeois worked with such topics of sexuality, pain, and fear. Her sculptures of spiders convey fear and anxiety the artist experienced for years.
Modernism brought bold irrational trends into painting that further influenced sculpture. Picasso’s “Guitar”, the Cubist collage, initiated the transition of the new technique into the three-dimensional space. However, geometrical abstraction did not dominate sculpture in the 20th century. It was also influenced by Dadaism, Surrealism, and Conceptualism. Though modern trends spread all over Europe back then, they are differently manifested in major artistic centers. Austrian sculpture of the 20th century is mostly presented by the creations of Fritz Wotruba and his followers. Geometrical abstraction and Cubism had a great influence on Wotruba. His church “of the Holy Trinity” or Wotruba Church in Vienna is a perfect example of Cubist design in architecture. War motives came through most of the Wotruba’s works. The sculpture “Man, condemn war” is another Cubist-inspired artwork picturing a man’s head made of separate carved stone blocks. The French trend in sculpture was entirely different from the Austrian modern art. Marcel Duchamp, the French painter and sculptor, experimented with classical techniques and traditional subjects until he developed the idea of “readymades”. Putting random objects as an art without any major alterations became Duchamp’s signature feature. Things like a bicycle wheel or urinal were attributed more meanings, and their aim was to question art and its public perception on general. Besides Marcel Duchamp’s works, French modern sculpture is famous for “Crouching Spider” by Louise Bourgeois and her numerous sculptures of the human body. These examples looked much more like traditional art, however, they incorporated very personal motives of the artist.