Theater is a word often used to indicate an area of warfare. I have often thought that a bizarre choice of word. According to Wikipedia:
In warfare, a theater or (theatre) is an area or place in which important military events occur or are progressing. A theater can include the entirety of the air space, land and sea area that is or that may potentially become involved in war operations.
At any given time there are numerous wars ongoing. Not just the conflicts that catch the attention of the public via the media, but many others in places never heard of. Wikipedia has a breakdown of the wars currently being fought. There are many, therefore there are many theaters of war.
That’s an odd word to use if you ask me. When I think of a theater I think of a presentation being put on by actors. Whether live on a stage or on a big screen, the actions are not real. When the performance is over the actors go home, the audience leaves either disappointed or moved, and preparations begin for the next show including prop management.
In a theater of war, there is no make-believe, no acting, and certainly no props. At the end of the day, the participants don’t just go home and relax. Many may never truly relax again. On a theater stage, a gun or knife is a harmless prop used to appear real, while in a theater of war those weapons of death are all too real. The IEDs found in Afghanistan are not props, nor are the bullets. They are actual killing and maiming devices. The atomic bomb that landed in the Pacific Theater of War was certainly no stage property.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I have always had strong reservations about using theater as a word to describe what can be a place of fear and death while also a potentially magical place full of escapism and entertainment.