Television vs. Theater Acting

The main distinction between television and theater acting lies on the level of energy that the actors and actresses need to put out in order to entertain the viewing public. Since most of the time, theater plays are held in large venues, the performers need to incorporate their acting with big movements and expressions. Small movements such as the raising of the eyebrows or the clenching of the fist may just go unnoticed when done in the theater. On the other hand, not much energy on-screen is required of television actors. Due to technological advancements, the cameras being used on the set already have zoom in features, allowing the audience to see every move that the actor does, including the rising and falling of the chest when breathing.

Another difference of the two is found in the amount of time used by the actors as well as the production team consume in preparation for each medium. Because theater acting is done with a live audience, everything needs to be perfect and rehearsed. What needs to be done in every scene is practiced weeks or even months beforehand; to make sure that the show goes flawless. In addition, the flow of the play greatly relies on the script; hence the term “scripted”. Every word said and movement being done is calculated so the actors know what they are supposed to do on stage. You cannot call for cuts when the play is going on so everyone must come prepared. With television, on the other hand, less effort is given for blockings and rehearsals. Every actor or actress must come to the set prepared and with lines fully memorized. During shootings, minimum time is spent for rehearsals and giving of instructions so this is where initiative and creativity comes to good use. The up side of it though, is because TV shows are recorded, the director may call for a cut if he thinks that something in the scene was done wrongly; and then the actors can do it all over again.

Stories done in both media often also vary. Theater plays are known for their extravagant backdrops and interesting prop pieces; hence the stories done in theater are those that call for more creativity such as the unusual and the bizarre. To name a few, there are those involving gods and goddesses, the enchanted forests, animals who talk and people who can fly. Television shows feature more realistic and day-to-day events, that including stories that evolve around family, friends or at the workplace. Simpler situations and events to which “normal” people can relate to their extravagant backdrops and interesting prop pieces; hence the stories done in theater are those that call for more creativity such as the unusual and the bizarre. To name a few, there are those involving gods and goddesses, the enchanted forests, animals who talk and people who can fly. Television shows feature more realistic and day-to-day events, that including stories that evolve around family, friends or at the workplace.