Between Theater and Anthropology by Richard Schechner

By Richard Schechner

In performances by means of Euro-Americans, Afro-Americans, local american citizens, and Asians, Richard Schechner has tested rigorously the main points of performative habit and has built types of the functionality procedure valuable not just to individuals within the arts yet to anthropologists, play theorists, and others interested (but possibly terrified) via the multichannel realities of the postmodern world.

Schechner argues that during failing to work out the constitution of the total theatrical procedure, anthropologists particularly have ignored shut analogies among functionality habit and formality. the way in which performances are created—in education, workshops, and rehearsals—is the foremost paradigm for social process.

"Fascinating for an individual heavily drawn to human habit, choked with rules that lead us to reexamine our wondering all performances, from the main dramatic to the main likely trivial."—New York instances

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The performance was "influenced, second-by-second, by the presence of the people, the place, the time of day, the light—all of those reflected themselves in the best performances" (1973, 41). Brook describes his group's method of working and the core idea of the trip as follows: One would come to a village where such a thing had never happened. We'd see the chief of the village and, through some interpreter, perhaps just a child from the village, I would talk to the chief and explain in a very few words the fact that a group of POINTS OF CONTACT 27 people, from different parts of the world, had set out to discover if a human contact could be made through this particular form called theatre.

BETWEEN THEATER AND ANTHROPOLOGY 20 Most American actors look forward to the time when they are "finished" training. Lip service is paid to lifelong training, but in fact only a small fraction of actors continue training after leaving acting school. Dancers are more likely to keep training—probably because a dancer without a flexible body is washed up. But how many dancers are really "in" their training. If a dancer could keep her body fit without training, would she still train? On the other hand, most performers enjoy rehearsals.

Clearly, the liminal space-time "pod" created by ritual action, or today by certain kinds of reflexively ritualized theatre, is potentially perilous. [I982a, 84] This past is one that is always in the process of transformation, just as a papal council can redefine Christ's actions or a great twentieth-century Noh performer can introduce new variations into a fifteenth-century mise-enscene of Zeami's. The lower left quadrant—that of the actual/indicative past—is history understood as an arrangement of facts.

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