Monday, 24 April 2017

The Three Ages of Dramatrurgy

Schechner's notion of performance studies expands the boundaries of theatre studies by emphasising performance as an event in time and prioritizing the relationship between the object and the audience. The example of a painting (more obviously a subject for art history) suggests that a single, static object can provides a series of different performances, which emerge from the interaction between audience, location, time span (and so on).

Before the Atlanta Speech (1992), theatre studies might have been construed as the study of behaviour on-stage: before the Enlightenment, theatre studies might have been construed as the study of the script and associated philosophical writing. 

This suggests a trinity of theatre studies... 

The Dramaturgy of the Father
Before the Enlightenment, theatre was studied as a literary form, and authority (of the classics, and in particular Aristotle) determined the value of the art. Like the 'father' of monotheistic religion, this period depended on tradition, assumed authority and a dogmatic description of 'the good'.  The abstractions of ARISTOTLE were carved into rock.

The Dramaturgy of the Son
With the Enlightenment, theatre was incarnated as an event and not a text. Rather like the doctrine of Christianity, where God becomes Man and flesh and located not in the heavens but in the present moment.

The Dramaturgy of the Holy Spirit
From 1992, the drama has escaped the stage and exists in the interaction between performers and audience, all of whom are performing. 

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