There are myriad onstage and offstage performances that enchant the spectators worldwide. The present paper attempts to discuss the possibility and probable negative impacts of providing rating system for the theatrical productions. Rating is not a novel concept as it is mostly associated with films, journals and other literary works of art. The system definitely helps the people to take a suitable judgement as to interpret which art works are appropriate to watch. In the changing scenario, even the rating system fails to classify the art works on the matters of sex and violence. While the rating system is still a strict concern of movies, it is significant to check its relevance in the case of theatre. When compared to movies, theatre provides a rather diverse experience of encountering emotions and other feeling without a screen barrier. David Osipovich comments, “On my view, a theatrical performance is a particular kind of interaction between performers and observers (actors and audience members) in a shared physical space” (461). The audience / observers are made aware of the fact that the performers are actually performing their assigned roles. It is definitely a unique experience and the heightening of emotions and passions happen right in front of the spectators.
Spectators are always a heterogeneous population and it ranges from children to age old elders. Each of them has different perceptions regarding the performances on stage. What appeals to the mature audience may not be proper for children. Swearing and nudity happen to be part of the theatre. As it happens before the eyes, the impact of theatre is more than any other commercial media. A true theatrical experience is a combination of many bodily expressions and gestures. Almost all the actions and gestures of the performer are directed towards the live audience. In Sherri Irvin’s opinion, “different spectators do come to offer common accounts or display similar responses to a given performance” (45) even there are slight differences in opinion. They judge a work of art based on the onstage enactment. The entire bodily expressions pronounce the actor’s genuine relationship with the work and the theatre makes use of the expressions to a great extent.
When it comes to rating, it certainly has many setbacks. It will lead to unnecessary classification which will certainly affect many classic performances. More than that it also lead to a gradual decline in the standards of the genre. James Hamilton points out, “Since much of our evaluation of a performance has to do with the creation of theatrical effects” (312), the selective removal of certain episodes may disturb the harmony of the entire performance. The inclusion of mature scenes may be important for the dramatic meaning of the plot and in that case it becomes indispensable for the performance. Therefore rating and censoring of the contents may disturb the entire performance. In that case, the best solution is to create a proper educational guideline of each performance before its onscreen presentation. The educational article create an awareness among the audience regarding the subject matter of the drama that help them to make apt decisions as to whether to be a part of the performance or not. There is always a narrow line that separates the boundaries of dishabille, viciousness and sex. If its purpose is mentioned, the audience get a chance to enter the theatre with a settled mind. They can enjoy the art work with an aesthetic sense of mind without faulty judgements regarding the credibility and standard of the play.
Hamilton, James R.. “Theatrical Performance and Interpretation”. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 59.3 (2001): 307–312. Web
Irvin, Sherri. “Theatrical Performances and the Works Performed”. Journal of Aesthetic Education 43.3 (2009): 37–50. Web
Osipovich, David. “What Is a Theatrical Performance?”. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64.4 (2006): 461–470. Web