Distinguishing Ritual from Theatre
This paper begins by analyzing Richard Schechner’s distinguishing features of ritual and theatrical performances, specifically regarding audience participation, audience belief, and intention of the performance to determine if these are truly accurate predictors of ritual and theatre. Specifically, the question of “belief” is raised. The ways in which audiences suspend disbelief in different types of performances is questioned and alternative ways of approaching (dis)belief in performance theory are proposed. Schechner’s efficacy/entertainment theory is updated using affect theory and performative utterances, thereby bringing emotional immediacy and authenticity into Schechner’s model. Building from the emotional significance of different performance types, this thesis posits that the lasting effects of ritual and theatre differ due to the disparity between the respective emotional affects of ritual and theatre performances. The research suggests that in some cases, ritual performance has the power to indoctrinate audiences that theatrical performance usually does not. The Eight Model Plays of Cultural Revolution China and City Christian Church Toronto’s baptism and Sunday service rituals serve as case studies through which this expanded theory of performance is tested.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/25447
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