I use my long drives to and from the theatre in the summer months to listen to those Big Important Books that you always mean to read but never get around to because of their intimidating length. A few years ago my selection was War and Peace and after a particularly long outing with the novel I returned home to remark: “I’ve decided I like Peace better than Wat.”
Well, duh! Who doesn’t?? But I meant that remark in the context of an audience member rather than as a willing or unwilling participant. The “Peace” scenes involved people politely introducing themselves and carefully setting the scene for me. “War” was just “Bam! Splat! Pow! Uggghhhhh, I am hit!” Wait, wait! Who got hit and which side was he on anyway? It was all too noisy and confusing, while at the same time vitally important, dealing literally in matters of life and death and the destiny of nations. I found being a war voyeur to be extremely frustrating.
And this is why you don’t have a lot of war on stage. Every now and then Shakespeare gives you a good sword fight or two representative of a great battle, but mostly we learn of war through its effects on individual characters.