Tony Kushner on the incomplete, imperfect illusion of theatre (Paris Review)

In a film like Avatar the illusion is almost inescapable, almost all encompassing, and it’s certain that, as we proceed into the future, cinematic illusion is becoming even more so. The flat projection screen is already a kind of archaic convention. It’s just an imitation of the proscenium arch, really. In the future we’re going to take drugs and the screen will be all around us and we’ll have sensory experiences with it and I’m sure it’ll be great, but people will still be going to the theater to watch Hamlet and Laertes fight. The great thing about having somebody die at the end of a sword fight is that it takes a lot of physical energy to do a sword fight. So they’re dead, but their ribcages are heaving up and down. The incomplete, imperfect illusion will never be unnecessary for human beings, and its home will always be in the theater, where everything, including death, is simultaneously thoroughly and yet not entirely convincing.

Tony Kushner interview, Paris Review, Summer 2012

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