Paul Woodruff's The Necessity of Theater: The Art of Watching and Being PDF

By Paul Woodruff

ISBN-10: 0195332008

ISBN-13: 9780195332001

What's distinctive and crucial approximately theater? What separates it from different arts? will we desire ''theater'' in a few basic manner? The artwork of theater, as Paul Woodruff says during this dependent and specific e-book, is as necessary--and as powerful--as language itself. Defining theater largely, together with sports and social rituals, he treats conventional theater as just one chance in an artwork that--at its such a lot powerful--can swap lives and (as a few peoples think) convey a divine presence to earth. The Necessity of Theater analyzes the original strength of theater via setting apart it into the dual arts of looking at and being watched, practiced jointly in concord by means of watchers and the watched. while performers perform the artwork of being watched--making their activities worthy observing, and taking note of motion, selection, plot, personality, mimesis, and the sacredness of functionality space--audiences perform the artwork of staring at: paying shut consciousness. a very good viewers is emotionally engaged as spectators; their engagement takes a kind of empathy which could bring about a different type of human knowledge. As Plato implied, theater can't train us transcendent truths, however it can educate us approximately ourselves. typically considerate, probing, and unique, Paul Woodruff makes the case for theater as a different type of expression attached to our such a lot human instincts. The Necessity of Theater should still entice someone heavily or concerned with theater or functionality extra largely.

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Extra resources for The Necessity of Theater: The Art of Watching and Being Watched

Sample text

We are here to watch, in rows of seats, the performance of these two sisters. We see them at their most human, reaching out to each other and failing to connect, as their passions of love and fear force them apart from each other, and we ourselves take sides, many of us thrilled by Antigone’s firmness of purpose, some of us shocked by what we see as rebelliousness or a longing for death, some of us won over by Ismene’s calm acceptance of what no one can change. We watch, we care, and perhaps we too are changed by the scene.

Or can you show that there is value in an experience of the Antigone that is missing in an experience of the Super Bowl, and that this suffices to outweigh the value of watching the big game? Could it be that you are drawn to the greater truth of the Antigone? Or to the greater intensity of emotional experience? Yes, in watching the play, you care deeply for a doomed tragic figure, but you never try to change the outcome. Real emotions make you want to take action, but in the art theater there is no action for you to take.

I have said that justice needs a witness, and you understood me to mean that trials should be open to the public, so that when a decision is made the public will know that healing can begin, that what was done in the courtroom was justice, and not personal—not just another stroke in an ongoing quarrel. Yes, but I meant much more than that, and The Laramie Project illustrates my meaning very well. The subject is a murder— and not just any murder, but a murder that may express views held by many members of the community who would have been accomplices if they could.

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The Necessity of Theater: The Art of Watching and Being Watched by Paul Woodruff


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