Performance Theory Essay

1805 words - 8 pages

„Performance is ritualised behaviour conditioned and /or permeated by play.“ (Schechner, 2013, pg. 89)
This essay will be demonstrating the key concepts of Schechner´s Performance Theory and after that there will be a performance discussed based on these concepts. Richard Schechner dedicates his studies to performing arts and performance. He sees that performance is not only theatre and actual plays, but everything in life, ranging from everyday life to rituals and art.
(Icosilune, 2009) Back in years, Western thinkers believed that they knew excatly what was and what was not a performance. ‘But in fact, there is no historically or culturally fixable limit to what is or is not “performance”. (Schechner, 2006, pg. 2) Schechner explains the difference between four performance categories, which are being, doing, showing doing and explaining showing doing. Being is an existance, just being who we are without any effort to do or pretend something. Doing is any act done in daily lives. Showing doing is an actual performance, when the actors act and represent the reality. And explaining showing doing is the theory, talking about the performances and commenting the art. He brings out the issue of the theory ´is´ or ´as´ performance, and describes how do they distinguish. There are some limits to what ´is´ performance. To qualify a performance as ´is´ performance, it must be said so in historical and social context. Any performance cannot be determined that it ´is´ a performance if it does not refer to specific cultural circumstances. On the other hand, ´as´ performance can be studied round about everything. But ultimately, it can be decided independently, if one considers it ´as´ or ´is´a performance. This leads to another topic, which is ´make belief´ and ´make-believe´.
Schechner has developed a Performance Process. It is composed by three parts. First one is called Proto-performance, and this includes training and rehearsals. Second one is Actual performance and then comes Aftermath. The last one involves memories and critical reception. He also devided the staff into four groups, and those are sourcers, producers, performers and last but not least are partakers.

In his Performance Theory he describes the rituals as performances. Rituals are, according to this theory, a performance as well. Schechner´s definition of a ritual is: „Rituals are collective memories encoded into actions.“. (Schechner, 2013, pg. 52) For example, doing our everyday morning routine, which consists simple actions as getting up from the bed, brushing our teeth, putting the clothes on and eating breakfast is a performance. There is nothing original about this ritual, and that makes it a performance. In general, nothing around us is original. There is every action, word, and movement that has already been said or done by somebody else. Just like already mentioned morning routine has been done by thousand of people before, and they keep „performing“ that every day. So that way,...

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