Entertaining is a kind of recreational activity which holds the interest and attention of an audience either through its story lines or provides entertainment and joy. It may be a project or an idea, but more often than not is more likely to just be one of those ordinary events or activities that have developed over time specifically for this purpose of holding an audience’s interest. However, entertainment has its own set of problems, as anyone who has ever tried to keep an attentive audience attentive through a long talk, may well testify. The problem lies in the fact that entertainment is a kind of activity whose effects need time and effort to develop. Thus, the development of entertaining ideas often remains stuck in someone’s head, unused, unutilized or simply put, dumped.
Entertainments is not, however, the domain of the contemporary age – the twentieth century. Entertaining itself has been around since time immemorial. Ancient Greece was famous for its performances, theatrical productions and plays, while Egypt, too, is famous for its large collection of mysteries, magic, temples and the like. Rome, too, has been famous for its theatrical productions, gladiators and gladiatorial games, while Spain, France and England have long been famous for their own popular and successful theatre productions, plays and musicals. In fact, the history of entertainment goes back to when man began to realise that his life could be better by bringing some kind of creative skill to the things he did every day.
As mankind began to develop more complex machines, the need for entertainment also became essential for their survival, thus evolving into what we today term as ‘entertainment’. From cavemen, who built rock-built caverns and provided their own fire to keep them entertained, to the earliest forms of dramatic art and music to the most sophisticated forms of computer games and live theatre, entertainment has always been a central part of our societies. In fact, entertainment has become such an integral part of our lives that it is often referred to as the third pole of modern society, right next to money and religion. It is something that almost all of us can agree on, and it serves as the very basis for our social interactions. Without entertainment, we simply would not be able to survive – which is why it is important for everyone to make the most of their living theatre experience.
Today’s global multimedia entertainment industry is estimated to create upwards of two billion dollars worth of revenue each year, with most of it coming from live theatre shows and amusement parks. The mass media, on the other hand, contributes just over one billion dollars worth of revenues to the entertainment industry each year, mainly through movies, television and the performance of live musical theatre. Of course, there are many other forms of entertainment available to the public, from travelling the world to playing virtual games.
One thing that many people don’t realise, however, is that behind the glamour and glitz of today’s popular entertainments, there is actually quite a lot of back story. In fact, much of what has become popular over the past decade has actually been built from decades of development. The creation of Disneyland, for example, began in Disneyland Gardens in California, where Native Americans performed dramatic pieces in the streets. As a result, this idea was taken and transformed into a spectacular show that you can see today in various parks all over the world. Similarly, the creation of Sesame Street, a hit children’s television program, began life as a performance art piece in Philadelphia.
Modern day entertainments like these rides and shows are more than just physical products. They are also expressions of culture and ideas. And in this day and age, it is rare to find a major motion picture or television show that is truly “all about” anything except entertainment. From the writing of books to the invention of video games, entertainment and its history has become almost omnipresent in our world. And while live entertainment at large has come a long way from the days of silent films and stage shows, the world of amusement parks remains the one that captures the imagination of so many.