22.10.08

WORD: theater

The OED defines theater a number of ways, but here are a few I found interesting:
2. In modern use, An edifice specially adapted to dramatic representations; a playhouse.
6.Something represented as a theatre (in sense 1 or 2) in relation to a course of action performed or a spectacle displayed; esp. a place or region where some thing or action is presented to public view (literally or metaphorically).

These two are interesting because they bring up two things crucial when talking about Schechner's writing. He discusses people thinking of things that would be normally upsetting as funny or okay to watch. The reason people can do that is because they understand there is an element of "play" going on. As long as the upsetting or disturbing things happen in a frame where everyone knows that the framework of the action is play, then people can enjoy them without feeling bad. Another essential element to the chapter is that theater can be found almost anywhere. Even news can be a form of theater because of how the information is presented by the newscasters and even what order the information is presented is staged by someone, whether the someone is the editor or the ratings.

1 comment:

Cardinal said...

But Schechner describes a panel of academics who flee the Squat performance precisely because it makes them feel bad--what does this say about the conceit of the theatre as a site of suspended disbelief?