Television vs. Theatre

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Thu Dec 19 06:15:14 EST 1996

Subject: Television vs. Theatre
 No. | DATE        |  FROM
s  1: Dec 18, 1996: "R. Cliff Thompson" <cthompson at FHU.EDU>
+  2: Dec 18, 1996: Ruth Ballam <r.i.ballam at>
*  3: Dec 18, 1996: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)


From: "R. Cliff Thompson" <cthompson at FHU.EDU>
Lines: 28

I've spent some time (maybe not enough, we'll see) reading postings here 
and elsewhere on B5 and am struck by the latest thread regarding the 
"little boxes" we place characters and situations in. Those seemingly 
inconsistent consistences are the very thing that attracts me to the show 
and its writing. In fact, the show's layers elevates B5 from *mere* 
television and makes it good theatre.

I unabashedly believe that theatre conveys the human experience more 
lucidly than does television. Trace the elemental conflicts between self, 
evil and goodness in the plays of Aeschylus all the way to August Wilson 
and you'll find many of the qualities many of us enjoy in B5. The plot 
explores "cosmic" themes like a Greek trilogy, characters are rife with 
contradiction (read Shakespeare and Marlowe for precedence), and the work 
employs spectacle to further the action (ok. TV, the visual medium, does 
this more effectively). I don't mean to sound like a snob, but perhaps 
those who criticize the show for seeming inconsistencies need to go to 
the theatre :->.

btw, what's jms' background in theatre?

R. Cliff Thompson
Director of Theatre		Phone: 901-989-6780
Freed-Hardeman University	E-mail: cthompson at
Henderson, TN 38340

"Serving the Lion of Judah through the performing arts."


From: Ruth Ballam <r.i.ballam at>
Lines: 21

R. Cliff Thompson wrote:

I think you might be missing an important point here. Shakespeare 
and Marlowe wrote plays for theatre, but they didn't have a lot of
choice, we'll never know what a TV show written by either of them
would be like. If you wish to compare like with like you can only 
fairly look at plays by modern writers, otherwise it's as much a
comparison of historical style as media. Also, only the good plays
survive, the bad ones die quickly, and because few people see them
they vanish without trace, a bad TV show OTOH is seen by a lot of 
people, isn't going to be killed by bad reviews and poor audience 
in just one week, it'll last for as many episodes as have already 
been produced, and will probably still be reshown, all be it late 
at night.

For JMS' background in theatre check out the Snow White threads :)



From: jmsatb5 at (Jms at B5)
Lines: 14

"For JMS' background in theatre check out the Snow White threads"

Actually, there's an awful lot more than that.  I used to be a theater
reviewer for the Daily Californian and KSDO Newsradio, as well as having
written a number of other produced plays.  The last one I did was "The
Apprenticeship," a full length turn-of-the-century pseudo-British comedy
which ran for about 16 weeks at the Marquis Public Theater in San Diego.


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