The Wicked Stage: From One Invalid to Another: Dying Is an Art:
It has become fashionable in some quarters to prophesy the end of movies, or the end of movies as we know them, or, for the really cautious Cassandras, the end of moviegoing as we know it. Look, the doomsayers say, at the rate of DVDs flying off the shelves—it's rising, though not, alas, as exponentially as it was last year. And just look at Hollywood's bleak summer of 2005, in which theatrical releases made a few hundred jillion dollars less than they made last year and the year before.
Before long, goes the conventional dig-erati wisdom, we'll forgo the communal experience of the neighborhood cinema, with its sticky floors and chattering teenagers, and stay home to watch Hollywood blockbusters on plasma screens as big as bay windows.
Maybe the movies should welcome these death knells, premature or not. Dying can do a lot for an art form. Just look at the theater: It's been pronounced dead, or dying, for many centuries now. And the theater is not just pulling off the longest, most enthralling death scene in the history of drama; it is fairly thriving in its mortal throes, if Broadway box-office receipts are any indication.
Death becomes the theatre. So why can't the movies, wobbling as they are on their Olympian heights, learn a few things from the fabulous invalid for whom dying is an art?