This week’s assignment is to post response to the reading
1- The Empty Space by Peter Brook
The first and last chapters ” The Deadly Theatre” and ” The Immediate Theatre”
2- “Visits to a Small Planet” by Elanor Fuchs.
It is about a living space and time.
One of the most impressive description for Theatre Art in Peter Brook’s book is that this is a 2 hrs public time that you take. I have never seen it this way though I have been to couple of theatre based performances these years. I guess it is because I seldom see it from the opposite view because before the present time, my rules are mostly audience. But then he says again, “Until an audience present the object is not complete.” And with all the examples that he gave, about the England audience and Ameican, different audience in different eras, I started to understand how audience play their roles in a living theatre art piece. It is the one last drop of chemical into the boiling mixed liquid, that makes the most interesting interaction happen. For the actor, they are constantly getting feedback from the audience and getting whipped towards a more active action. For the audience, whoever is willing to pay for a “risk”, it will be something remains. “Two hours after any session begins all the relations between the people present are slightly modified, because of the experience in which they have been plunged together. As a result, something is more animated, something flows more freely, some embryonic contacts are being made between previously sealed-off souls.” ” Fun can be forgotten, but powerful emotion also disappears and good arguments lose their thread. When emotion and argument are harnessed to a wish from the audience to see more clearly into itself—then something in the mind burns.” I could not agree more with this description of feeling. I used to find this feeling more often when finish watching a movie. But certainly, it is more powerful when you enter into a real space with a bunch of real people on the stage.
Speaking of living theatre art. I agree with the part plays need to be “evolved” with its surrounding elements in its own era. I just when to see The Lion King this weekend and there was a scene that Zazu the bird sings “Let it go” from the Frozen. Most audience first stopped for a second and then turn into laughing. I can feel that most of us first feel unexpected, and then feel kind and related, but still at that moment we are, at least me was out of the play itself. I can not say if it is good or not, but it is definitely a good move to connect with the audience.
In the first chapter, The Deadly Theatre, it gives example of Pekin Opera as a deadly theatre. Because I am Chinese so I pay more attention to this part. At first I was a little bit of shock and I can only partially agree with the author. But I soon found out that this book was written in 1968 and then everything makes sense. Because over these years that a lot of forms of art appears to regain and imitate the form of Pekin Opera. Although imitation might not be a good art approach itself, it could still be a good starting. I also sorrow every time I realize what is a big loss that our culture has give away at the days of 1960s. But it is nice to see it re-born in the new life style of the present.
In terms of the “Visits to Small Planets” I found it resonates because I always believe that what we as a human make, is a sort of projection from the World, either the bare natural world or the human-society world.