Comparing Theater and Cinema Essay

This essay Comparing Theater and Cinema Essay has a total of 660 words and 4 pages.

Comparing Theater and Cinema Essay

Comparing Theater and Cinema Essay

February 2, 2015
Lisa Turner

Comparing Theater and Cinema Essay
Jaws is a perfect movie. A movie that is the standard for the “animal on the loose” genre, and it is unlikely to ever be overshadowed. The movie preys on the human mind’s ability to construct horrors beyond any the screen can provide. The audience does not actually see the shark until an hour into the movie. But the shark isn’t just a shark. The shark is a representation of consumerism in this memorable movie.
The shark in Jaws represents consumerism in society. This is first demonstrated in the scene where the sheriff, a recent transplant from New York and therefore an outsider to the town, tries to close down the beaches after learning of the first shark attack. The sheriff is confronted by the mayor and fathers of the town in the confined space of one of Amity’s ferries, suggesting the island’s isolation and dependence on beach-going summer tourists for its livelihood and survival (AMC Filmsite, n.d.). Amity’s mayor informs the sheriff that he cannot close the beaches on his own authority, and must have a civic ordinance or resolution by the town’s Board of Selectmen. Their one and only concern is what impact closing the island’s beaches will have on the businesses in the exclusive town. The sheriff, symbolizing the “everyman” of society, is forced into a cover-up and ordered to keep the beaches open. Because of this decision, the relentless shark kills another member of the community. This time the victim is a child, yet people in town are still wary of drawing conclusions. “We don’t even know if there’s a shark around here,” argues the female motel owner (AMC Filmsite, n.d.). At a meeting of the town’s elders, the sheriff’s decision to close the beaches is once again vetoed by the mayor, who only authorizes a twenty-four hour closure. The sheriff is left helpless, emasculated, and speechless in front of the meeting (AMC Filmsite, n.d). The higher priority of revenue at the expense of beachgoers lives represents consumerism at its worst.
Theatrical Production
As a theatrical production, Jaws would best be performed as an American satirical musical in three acts. The cast would consist of puppet characters animated and voiced by actors/puppeteers who are present, unconcealed, and onstage but remain “invisible” relative to the story line, much like the current New York musical, Avenue Q. To assist in the illusion, the puppeteers would wear grey or black clothing in contrast to the characters colorful costumes. The set design would be simple, childlike scenes that would be easily rolled on and off the stage to change the scene settings. The musical would be scored simply for bass, drums and percussion, guitars, reeds, and piano or electronic keyboards. The shark would also be a character with a speaking role. He would be written as a tortured soul, who is a slave to his animal instincts, and the audience would be empathetic to his character, as he is consistently set up for failure by the townspeople of Amity. Despite the characters being portrayed by puppets, the show would not be appropriate for children to attend.
Widely written and dissected about by film historians and theorists, we continue to return to this amazing motion picture because it beckons us to. Whereas many great films contain a message or viewpoint that defines them as a product of their time, Jaws does the opposite (Deep Focus Review, 2012). The shark is open to interpretation by the viewer. The shark of Jaws represents consumerism. It is literally “eating away” the resources of wealth for the town of Amity. Jaws will never lose its potency as a film and a theatrical production would be an imaginative way to bring it into current popular culture.
AMC Filmsite. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Deep Focus Review. (2012). Retrieved from

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Topics Related to Comparing Theater and Cinema Essay

English-language films, Jaws, Films, Martha's Vineyard, Shark