Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

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

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

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

Article excerpt

Paul Woodruff. The Necessity of Theater: The Art of Watching and Being Watched. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Do we need theater in some fundamental way? Paul Woodruff believes we do. He argues that the art of theater is as necessary and as powerful as language itself. Defining theater broadly, incorporating sports events as well as social rituals (e.g., weddings and court trials), he maintains that the art of theater can change lives and, as some cultures believe, bring a celestial presence to the world.

Divided into two sections, The Art of Being Watched and The Art of Watching, Woodruff explores both sides of theater's unique dichotomy: "If we are unwatched, we diminish, and we cannot be entirely as we wish to be. If we never stop to watch, we will know only how if feels to be us, never how it might feel to be another." For the performers, he goes into extensive detail about using plot, staging, characterization, and mimesis to create something worth watching. …

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