Psychodrama uses some of the same techniques as sociodrama but it is more pri

Psychodrama uses some of the same techniques as

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Psychodrama uses some of the same techniques as sociodrama, but it is more pri-vate and interpersonal; in fact, it can become so intense that it should be carried out only under the supervision of a trained therapist. In psychodrama, individual fears, anxieties, and frustrations are explored. A person might reenact a particularly trau-matic scene from childhood, for example. The various fields of participatory theater are fascinating, but the purpose here is to draw a distinction between participatory drama and observed drama. In participatory drama, theater is a means to another end: education, therapy, group development, or the like. Its aim is not public performance, and there is little emphasis on a carefully prepared, expertly performed presentation before an audience; in fact, just the opposite is true. In observed drama, on the other hand, the aim is an expert performance for Part 1 The Audience
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F spectators, and there must always be some separation between the performers and the audience-the "aesthetic distance" described earlier. THE IMAGINATION OF THE AUDIENCE For those who create it, theater is a direct experience: an actress walks onstage and impersonates a character; a carpenter builds scenery; a scene designer paints it. For these people the experience is like cutting a finger or being held in an embrace: the pain or the warmth is felt directly and physically. THE AUDIENCE USES ITS IMAGINATION In theater, the audience is called on to use its imagination in order to accept many things: ghosts, spirits, witches, and imaginary objects and actions. In a revival o/Craig Lucas's dark comedy Reckless, Mary-Louise Parker plays a housewife fleeing her home on Christmas Eve. A steering wheel stands for an entire car, and the audience imagines that she is actually driving. The play, directed by Mark Brokaw, was at the Manhattan Theatre Club. On the left is Michael O'Keefe, a physical therapist dressed in a Santa Claus suit, who joins the heroine in her improbable cross-country odyssey. Joan Marcus) Chapter 1 The Audience: Its Role and Imagination 31
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32 Members of a theater audience experience a different kind of pain or warmth. As spectators in a theater, we sense the presence of other audience members; we observe the movements and gestures of performers and hear the words they speak; and we see costumes, scenery, and lighting. From these we form mental images or make imagina-tive connections which provoke joy, laughter, anger, sorrow, or pain. All this occurs, however, without our moving from our seats. We naturally assume that those who create theater are highly imaginative people and that their minds are full of vivid, exciting ideas which might not occur to the rest of us. If we conclude, however, that we in the audience have only a limited theatrical imaginatioh, we do ourselves a great injustice. As we saw earlier, theater is a two-way street-an exchange between performers. and audience-and this is nowhere more evident than in the creation of illusion.
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