The Theater from The Hidden Side of Things by C W Leadbeater
The hidden side of a performance at the theatre depends entirely
upon the nature of the performance.
The passions portrayed by the actors, not being in any sense real, produce practically no effect on higher matter, but unfortunately there seems to be not infrequently a great deal of conceit connected with acting, and a great deal of jealousy of other actors. So far as these exist they represent undesirable influences. The principal effect to be seen at a theatre is the result of the feelings excited in the audience, and these again depend upon the character of the play.
There seems almost always to be an undercurrent of sensuality directed towards the principal actresses, but the people who make-up the majority of the audience usually follow the plot of the play and feel a mild amount of hatred for the villain and a sort of gentle pleasure when the hero succeeds in over-throwing his machinations. There are some ingenuous people who really throw themselves heart and soul into the play-- to whom it is for the time exactly like real life.
These send out strong emotions of various kinds as the play progresses, but usually their number is not sufficient to count for much in the general aura of the theatre. There are unfortunately many modern plays which are in themselves of a highly objectionable nature, and the thought-forms of those who patronise them are naturally unpleasant in character.
One may sum up the matter by saying that to many people a visit to the theatre is like the reading of a novel, but it presents the different characters to them in a manner which makes them more real to them. There are others, on the other hand (perhaps more imaginative people), who when they read a story make for themselves thought-forms of all the characters, and these forms seem to them far more vivid and suitable than any representation in the theatre can be. Such people are always disappointed when they go to see a dramatised representation of one of their favourite stories.
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Others who have not the power of imagination to clothe the characters with definite forms for themselves are very glad to have this done for them by the dramatist' s art. For these-- and they are the majority of theatre-goers-- a visit to the theatre is no more harmful than the reading of a novel, except for the necessary unpleasant surroundings-- the tinge of sensuality in the audience, and of conceit and jealousy in the actors, to which I have previously referred, and the spending of a couple of hours in a vitiated atmosphere and in the midst of a more or less excited crowd. From the occult point of view these latter considerations usually rather outweigh the advantage of any possible enjoyment that may be obtained from the performance.
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