Precis: Who’s that at the window? Could be art.

Schechner discusses in depth the threshold that different genres of performance and art stand upon. Some have crossed the threshold and are considered to be theater, or art, in the most traditional sense of narrative or creative work. While others are a Brechtian-like break-down of theatre to it’s most fundamental roots. Schechner says that this trend of non-traditional, experimental theatre, will only continue to become more acceptable as time goes on. Even the most obscene or gory situation can be accepted by the audience if it is presented in a way that tells the audience, “this is theatre,” (305). The frame and presentation of theatre has become immensely important, because theatre and art has become so abstract that Schechner asks, “How can you distinguish between performance and nonperformance, between art and life?” (308). Schechner compares the differentiation between art and life, performance and nonperformance, to the internal recognition of play. Play and threat can often go hand in hand, but it is easy to recognize play from threat because we are taught to recognize the motions or subtle movements that signify play. Theatre and art are kept within that similar innate knowledge that allows us to recognize a playful nip from a threatening bite.

1 comment:

Cardinal said...

this is a very beguiling account of Schechner's argument (kudos to you for your intrepid use of his "bite" conceit). The question, I guess, is whether we agree that people's handling of the indistinction of art and life is as flexible, and thus as far ahead of Western aesthetic theory as he claims.