One of the main questions that Schechner poses in his essay is where can one draw the line between real life and performance. He presents several theater establishments that are very unconventional in their performances and questions whether or not it can be called art. He says on page 308, "How can you distinguish between performance and nonperformance, between art and life?" I thought it would be interesting to see how the OED defines "performance". According to the most significant definition, a "performance" is:
"An instance of performing a play, piece of music, etc., in front of an audience; an occasion on which such a work is presented; a public appearance by a performing artist or artists of any kind. Also: an individual performer's or group's rendering or interpretation of a work, part, role, etc. In extended use: a pretence, a sham" (OED online).
While this definition is undestandable, it does not answer the question proposed by Schechner and it even goes against Schechner's conception of the performance in many ways. Schechner answers his own question about the relationship between art and life. He gives the example of Geertz's account of the cockfights in Bali and shows how art and performance is present in everyday life; therefore, "there is theater in theater; theater in ordinary life; events in ordinary life that can be interpreted as theater; events from ordinary life that can be brought into theater where they exist both as theater and as situations of ordinary life" (311).
2 years ago