chapter  7
18 Pages

Audiences, Interaction, and Missional Theodramatics

Peter Brook succinctly expresses the unanimous sentiment among theatre scholars and practitioners that audiences are necessary for theatre, especially in postdramatic theatre, where “the turn to performance is thus at the same time always a turn toward the audience.”2 Even before this official turn, Constantin Stanislavski claimed: “To act without a public is like singing in a place without resonance.”3 Whereas the essential role of audiences in theatrical performance is beyond dispute, the nature and extent of audience participation is a matter of great debate. On one end of the spectrum, audience members are spectators in traditional theatre settings, observing a performance for a certain kind of personal experience or benefit. This position maintains the immovable and impenetrable “fourth wall” separating actors and audience.4 On the other end of the spectrum, various forms of experimental theatre eliminate the distinction between actors and audience, focusing on the theatrical experience where all participate as “spect-actors.”5 This kind of event tears down the fourth wall so that spectators become actors and actors become spectators.