Aesthetic Experience in Theater and the ‘I’ of the Beholder Essay Sample
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Aesthetic Experience in Theater and the ‘I’ of the Beholder Essay Sample
Literature has always been a part of every man, whether enjoyed and appreciated in different perception, it could be through reading the text or by watching it on stage. In the end, the important is that readers and viewers are entertained and understood literature at its best.
Theater is one of the ways which people can enjoy literature and it has always been a part of every man to watch and be entertained in theater. It is man’s expression of his daily drama of his life, whether it could be sweet or bitter. Man expresses his emotions through different ways and tends to be storytelling of his life since it is where man finds belongingness when others pay attention of his own drama. From the very beginning, theater has come to take on many forms, utilizing speech, gesture, music, dance, writing, and shows. It also combines the other performing arts, often as well as the visual arts, into a single artistic form. Theater also shows that it is man’s higher nature and need to be emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and creative. It is in theater that all of these aspects of man’s higher nature and need are used to express and demonstrate aesthetic experience in theater as well as in life. Aesthetic experience is essential to every human being since this is the pleasurable and desirable experience that gives life worth and meaning.
Aesthetic experience in theater is experienced in two ways; the experience of the performer or the actor and the experience of the audience. Indeed, aesthetic experience is not only significant to the characters performing on stage but also to the audience whom the performance is being addressed. The actors on the stage has performed the characters they portrayed in theater has always significant effect on their personal experience or the opposite. The theatrical experience has something to do with (a) their preparation for the role and dialogue with the character within his part, (b) his search for unity and appropriateness, harmonious correspondence between performing ‘self’ and impersonated ‘character’ (c) the opportunities for impressive displays of theatrical and dramatic skill offered by the convention of multiple role playing and, (d) his professional aims vis-à-vis his audience. Thus, it is always viewed and considered that the actors are always aware of their own changeability in dramatic identity and the reality that is essential to his everyday self. The audience is one of the most important in theater.
The experience of the audience in theater has something to do with their artistic self-awareness. The audience or the ‘I’ of the Beholder in theater is significant since the response of the audience is important to the performers because it gives them worth. The audience in theater responds to (a) sensory stimulation of the play (b) human values which is natural in any text or dialogue (c) artistic excellence that is fulfilled in the production and, (d) intellectual value or the performance value that communicates to the idea of the audience. Plays contain some ‘hooks’ on which an audience can hang their personal experiences. The play as it is written needs the interaction with the audience to complete its full meaning with the help of the good performers. In theater, both the actors and the audience have played and an important role to make the life of the theater alive. It’s totally an odd if the performers performed in a specific place for no reason. Thus, a group of individuals gathered at a certain time and place for no purpose other than to see the performance.
With this, performers in the theater should always see the value of their talents as actors that entertain the audience that hunger for the interpersonal contact, explore issues while bringing people to the same room and most especially, complete its full meaning of their hang ups of life through theater. Theater has been an influential factor in many people’s lives, flourishes creativity, improves students’ academics, and a good means to develop self-expression. Theater can be influential in all aspects of life. Developing a creative mind can lead to a more tolerant attitude because, just like many people say that “The creative process of theater leads the audience to be more open-minded and acceptable because of the diverse roles they portray.” In the future, people who are exposed to theater will become more tolerant of sensitive issues, which could create better living conditions globally. In reality, theater can teach valuable skills that can be used in the professional world.
Theoretical Background of the Study
This literary research assumes that the Aesthetic Experience in Theater and the ‘I’ of the Beholder reflects on the performance of the actors on stage, the response of the audience, and the influence of theater to both the actors and the audience. This research assumption is supported by the aesthetic theory, pragmatic theory, and expressive theory. The Aesthetic Theory. The idea of this theory assumes that a literary work is beautiful and pleasurable since aesthetics deals with art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty (Raben, 2010). According to Kant aesthetics examines our affective domain response to an object or phenomenon. Thus, each person has its own sense of taste in determining in case of beauty. The case of beauty is different from mere agreeableness because if someone proclaims something to be beautiful, then he requires the same liking from others; he then judges not just for himself but for everyone, and speaks of beauty as if it were a property of things (Guyer, 2002). Stumpf (1999) justifies Hume’s theory on aesthetic explains that taste, aesthetic, and moral response is immediate in the sense that the feeling occurs spontaneously in anyone who makes customary imaginative associations. Hume wants to emphasize that a critic does not infer the presence of beauty.
Yet he also acknowledges the relevance of sound understanding to taste. This combination of doctrines has implications for the practice of justifying judgments of taste. Cohen, a scholar-practitioner says that the aesthetic experience is the pleasurable experience of perception, brought about by the reciprocity between the qualities embedded in a form and the perceptual capacities of those who witness or behold that form. Aesthetic experiences generally integrate the senses, emotions, and spirit with intellect (2007). Budd explains that a positive aesthetic value derives from a relation among its elements, or a higher order property that it possesses, which is capable of yielding pleasure to a person who perceives or imaginatively realizes it (2008). Martin describes Baumgartens theory on aesthetics that what can be cognized through the higher faculty of mind are the object of logic and the episteme of the subject which is aesthetics (2007). Stumpf also explains Dewey’s theory on aesthetics is that the roots of aesthetic experience lie in commonplace experience, in the completion of the experiences that are present in the course of human life. He added that there is no legitimacy to the conceit cherished by some art enthusiasts that aesthetic enjoyment is the privileged endowment of the few.
Whenever there is a union into an immediately enjoyed qualitative unity of meanings and values drawn from previous experience and present circumstances, life then takes on an aesthetic quality (1991). The Expressive Theory. Expressive theory is seen as the means of portraying the unique, individual feelings and emotions of the artist and good art should successfully communicate the feelings and emotions which the artist intended to express. Geisinger (2007) discusses Abram’s expressive theory as who interpreted and shared the principle that a shift from imitation to expressive theories that when an art becomes expression, the importance of the artists increase. Artists are the executors as always, and they are now the content as well; as their works are in a sense the creating of themselves, artists and works are thoroughly involved. Geigsinger added that an expressive theory of art, one obvious tendency would be for the artist’s personality, as it moves towards the center, to displace and replace the audience (2007).
For Ruskin, the expressive theory on beauty is when contemplative faculty, theory, instinctively perceives beauty as pleasurable, and when a person describes the mechanism by which the observer perceives both the happiness and moral significance of a living being to be beautiful (2005). Smith explains that expressive theories hold that moral propositions express attitudes and expressive proponents describe how one or two are compatible with the general expressive perspective (1987). Stumpf describes Blackburn’s expressive theory as a form of moral anti-realism or non-factualism, the idea that there are no moral facts that moral sentences describe or represent, and no moral properties or relations to which moral terms refer.
Expressive proponents deny constructivist accounts of moral facts (1999). The Pragmatic Theory. Pragmatic theory is the doctrine that practical consequences are the criteria of knowledge, meaning, and value. Dewey’s theory on pragmatism explains that action in the work connects the interest of doing good and being right (1999). Stumpf (1999) discusses James pragmatic theory that is often summarized by his statement that “the ‘true’ is only the expedient in our way of thinking, just as the ‘right’ is only the expedient in our way of behaving”. Wells defends the pragmatic theory as a legal judgment made from a particular perspective and that judging is a situated activity, thus, the judges should attend to their Aesthetic Experience in Theater and the “I” of the Beholder
Figure 1: A Schematic Presentation of the Theoretical Background of the Study situation in a conscientious way. Wells emphasizes that “we can never see with any eyes except of our own, we can broaden our situation in such a way that our streams of tendency are more perceptive to the different perspectives that exist in the world we are seeking to judge” (2003). Geisinger (2007) explains Abram’s pragmatic theory as the relation to the work, in which it is treated as something that is constructed to achieve certain effects on the audience and its effects may be for the aesthetic pleasure, instruction or any kind of emotion (1993).
The Problem Statement
This study analyzes aesthetically, expressively, and pragmatically the Aesthetic Experience in Theater and the ‘I’ of the Beholder.
Specifically, it looks into the following:
1. the performance of the actors on stage;
2. the response of the audience; and
1. How do audiences describe their experiences of attending arts performances?
2. What is the relationship between audience engagement and artistic quality?
3. the influence of theater to both the actors and the audience.
Significance of the Study
The best way to appreciate a literary masterpiece is through literary
understanding and interpretations. The comprehension of a literary work and the appreciation of its aesthetic experience and values take place through the use of various approaches and one of it is the theater.
This study benefits the following entities:
Literature Professors. This study serves the literature professors as an idea and model in dealing with theater. Further, this study serves a guide in knowing the aesthetic experiences in theater to both the actors and audience.
English-Literature Majors. This research gives the English-Literature major students a new method of analyzing the characterization portrayed by the actors on stage and the responses of the audience watching. College Students. This paper provides literature college students information on how the aesthetic experience in theater to both the actors and audience. Students know how to analyze the characters portrayed by the actors on stage and the experience of the audience. Literary Scholar. The findings of the study serve as motivating factor for the literary scholars to investigate a similar research to validate the findings of this research. Furthermore, this serves as an inspiration to acknowledge the importance and significance of theater in the literary appreciation. Theater Enthusiasts. This paper helps the readers appreciate how a book is given life on stage to recapture specific emotions of the characters, the setting of the story and how events progress from exposition to resolution. Hence, this helps them understand why and how changes take place on stage production.
Scope and Limitations
This study focuses on the Aesthetic Experience in Theater and the “I” of the Beholder specifically on The Phantom of the Opera. It looks specifically into the performance of the actors on stage, the response of the audience, and the influence of theater to both the actors and the audience.
Definition of Terms
The following terms are being defined conceptually and operationally for better understanding. Aesthetics refers to beautiful and pleasurable since aesthetics deals with art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty (Raben, 2010). Audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art and in theater (encyclopedia.thefree.dictionary). .Beholder means the model of organizational identification to try to understand the voluntary cooperative behavior of professionals in organizations (Dukerich 1993). Experience is the accumulation of knowledge or skill that results from direct participation in events or activities; “a man of experience”; “experience is the best teacher” (Cambridge, 1996). Play refers to a dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a stage (encyclopedia.thefree.dictionary). Theater is a branch of the performing arts, any performance may be considered theater; however, as a performing art, theater focuses almost exclusively on live performers creating a self-contained drama (Longman Dictionary).
REVIEW OF RELATED READINGS
This chapter discusses of the area of study specifically the Aesthetic Experience in Theater and the ‘I’ of the Beholder. It is a concise overview of what has been studied, argued, and established about the experience in theater. It also surveys scholarly articles, books, and other sources relevant to the topic, theory, and critical evaluation of the work. Indeed, a summary and synthesis of the sources to give a new interpretation of the old or combine new with the old interpretation.
Related Literature Reviewed
Theater has been around for thousands of years, and the ways we study it have changed decisively. Theater has been created as an outlet for human’s representations, it is the fact of life that demonstrates the life’s intensity is still intact and asks only to be better directed. Man scream for magic in lives, but truly afraid of pursuing the existence of life’s influence and sign.
To break through language in order to touch life is to create or recreate the theater because this is believed that this is the essential thing that remained sacred and not just anyone can create it because of its strict preparations.
In the book The Theater and Its Double, Artuad (1958) reveals that the sense of life is renewed in theater, a sense of life in which man fearlessly makes himself master of what does not yet exist, and brings it into being. And he even added that everything that has not been born can still be brought to life if man is not satisfied of just mere a recording orgasm.
To Heuvel in his book Performing Drama/Dramatizing Performance: Alternative Theater and the Dramatic Text mentions that theater is often characterized by not by a true moral rigor and a critical stance toward society, but by themes of individual loss, alienation, and the collapse an idealized American community (1993).
In the book Inwardness and Theater in English Renaissance Muas (1995) quotes Hamlet’s statement that the conviction of truth is unspeakable and that it implicitly devalues any attempts to express to communicate it. And that the exemplary instance of this devaluation is the theater since any actions that a man might play can be recognized in theater.
Freshwater in her book Theater and Audience mentions that theater has taken its place within a broad spectrum of performance, connecting it with the wider forces of ritual and revolt that thread through so many spheres of human culture. Theater has helped make connections across disciplines. Theater and performance have been deployed as key metaphors and practices with which to rethink gender, economics, war, language, the fine arts, culture and one’s since of self (2009).
Freshwater added that the moment of being caught between individual responsibility and collective response, between active engagements and passive consumption is a live experience and a careful survey of the wide range of approaches that theater scholars, philosophers, practitioners and promoters take when considering the presence and power of the audience (2009). For Freshwater the presence of an audience is central to the definition of theater, and the twentieth century saw an explosion of interest in the audience’s role among experimental theater practitioners (2009. Related Studies Reviewed
From the very beginning of civilization, the theater has helped mankind to discover and understand themselves and their relationship with the world, with others, and with God (or the gods). As such, it is and always has been an affirming force in the world. As Melnick (1998) used Ludwig Lewisohn statement that in all ages the drama, through its portrayal of the acting and suffering spirit of man, has been more closely allied than any other art to his deeper thoughts concerning his nature and destiny. Unlike any other art, the total, intense focus of theater is on the human being, his or her existence, and his or her relationship with life. It is a part of human nature to need to examine who we are in relationship with where we are. Consequently, basic elements of theater and drama exist in every society.
According to Bruch (1990) that the theatre is a created thing, and its very creation determines what it is and what it does. We create the theatre in such a way to express meaning, feeling, and spirit so that the audience member will have an opportunity to experience what we want them to experience. For instance, we may want the audience to experience what it is like to live in a cardboard box in an alley in order to get them to feel and understand urban problems. At the same time, we may want to affirm the worth of persons. A person living in a cardboard box has worth.
Bruch (1990) added that the experience of theatre is more than this. It is a part of human nature to separate ourselves from people who are different and live in different situations. The theatre breaks that barrier of separation, it allows man to experience the world of another person and at the same time experience ourselves in our own world. The theatre ties us and our world to another person and his or her world. Man comes to experience and understand, emotionally and intellectually, that the life of human being connects to another’s life, and man’s world connects to another’s world. This way, the theatre ties together man’s own humanity.
As Case (2006) suggested in her study Moral Imagination Takes the Stage: Reader’s Theater in Medical Context that the students from theater and performance studies were interested in the impact that theater can have in a community and also found value in fostering interdisciplinary thinking about the arts and the sciences. Most of the students at some point remarked on their attraction to the course, because it represented something different in their school day: a break from studying, a chance to interact with the off campus world; the opportunity to read, analyze, and interpret good literature.
To Pardue (2004) exploration of aesthetic modalities fosters the ability to uncover meaning and significance of a situation. Readers Theater stimulates these creative and imaginative elements. It involves a dramatic oral reading of a story by an assembled cast. Through this experience, students describe an enhanced sense of patient empathy, heightened concern for person-centered care, and a value opportunity for self-reflection. Aesthetic learning experience supports the development of a caring, humanistic professional.
Grove and Fisk (1992) discussed that the role of the audience in developing and maintaining a definition of an interactive situation cannot be ignored. The audience’s evolving expectations and continuous communication (verbal or nonverbal) of its responses to a performance as it unfolds provide the actors with needed information to guide their behavior toward a desired outcome. While the meanings and interpretations that an audience assigns to a behavioral encounter may be partially a function of previous learning, their validation occurs during or following the interaction.
Jing Nie’s study Staging Spatial Conflicts and Affect in Emotional Postsocialism: Meng Jinghui’s Theater explains that the beauty of lived experience has an impact of the offstage feeling of the individual and to the overall theatrical space. It represents a space in theater from the static and limited performing stage to the porous open space that the audience inhabits but also makes the stage an alternative space on the boundaries aiming to transform the offstage space. In-depth exploration and activation of the complicated relationships between languages and their parole, lived experience and commodity, and body and affect and their spatial manifestations inside and outside of the theater have effectively engaged the audience intellectually and emotionally while maintaining their awareness of the illusionary nature of the theater and of the realistic world outside (2011).
Radbourne and Johanson explain in their study The Audience Experience: Measuring Quality in the Performing Arts that audiences will be fiercely loyal if they can experience fulfillment and realization in the arts experience. An art experience that combined response from the emotions, senses, imagination, and intellect (2009).
Radbourne added that theater audiences commented on production qualities, referring to the creative lighting design, the set design, the use of piano to enhance the diaglogue, the script and the content of the play, and the craft of the actor. The authenticity of the performance and their own emotional perception associated with reality or believability as factors in their experience of quality. Artistic achievements that appeared to the audience to belong to that one performance were a frequently noted trait of artistic authenticity, and were perhaps pay-off for the risk they had taken in attending (2009).
Mienczakowski discusses that in theater, the use of performance constructs and conventions in the interpretation which includes emotive, physical, and, at times, confronting approaches to explaining or interpreting the experiences of ‘the other’. He also states that an agenda of obligation and purpose implicit in the performance and its clear potential to influence wide audiences (2009).
LITERARY RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This chapter shows the procedures in gathering the data and other related references in understanding the Aesthetic Experience in Theater and the “I” of the Beholder.
Research Method Used
This study presents a descriptive analysis that supports this research, and as well as introduces the research approach and theoretical techniques applied. Descriptive research design is a scientific method which involves observing and describing the behavior of a subject without influencing it in any way (http://experiment-resources.com/descriptive-research-design). Descriptive analysis provides an overview of the interpretation by reading and gathering the salient points and other related references in understanding Aesthetic Experience in Theater and the “I” of the Beholder that delves in the plot structures of the five selected tales, the fictional themes; and the milieu of the Medieval England signified by the plot structures and themes.
Sources of Data
This research presents Aesthetic Experience in Theater and the “I” of the Beholder different information to prove the importance of the study. Secondary sources like: journals, unpublished reports, thesis, dissertations, and electronic sources also used to expose and deepen the subject matter under the light of different authors to shed on the focus of the study.
This research follows three phases: the analysis of the performance of the actors on stage, the analysis of the response of the audience, and the analysis of the influence of theater to both the actors and the audience.
Analysis of the Performance of the Actors. The experience of the actors on theater has something to do with their (a) their preparation for the role and dialogue with the character within his part, (b) his search for unity and appropriateness, harmonious correspondence between performing ‘self’ and impersonated ‘character’ (c) the opportunities for impressive displays of theatrical and dramatic skill offered by the convention of multiple role playing and, (d) his professional aims vis-à-vis his audience. Thus, it is always viewed and considered that the actors are always aware of their own changeability in dramatic identity and the reality that is essential to his everyday self. . Analysis of the Response of the Audience. One of the most important in theater is the audience since the experience of the audience in theater has something to do with their self-awareness. The audience or the ‘I’ of the Beholder in theater is significant since the response of the audience is important to the performers because it gives them worth. The audience in theater responds to (a) sensory stimulation of the play (b) human values which is natural in any text or dialogue (c) artistic excellence that is fulfilled in the production and, (d) intellectual value or the performance value that communicates to the idea of the audience.
Plays contain some ‘hooks’ on which an audience can hang their personal experiences. The play as it is written needs the interaction with the audience to complete its full meaning with the help of the good performers. Analysis of the Influence of theater to both the actors and the audience. Both the actors and the audience have played an important role to make life of the theater alive. Performers in the theater should always see the value of their talents as actors that entertain the audience that hungers for the interpersonal contact, explores issues while bringing people to the same room and most especially, complete its full meaning of their hang ups of life through theater. People’s lives have been influenced by theater since it flourishes creativity, improves students’ academics, and a good means to develop self-expression. Thus, theater can be influential in all aspects of life. People who are exposed to theater will become more tolerant of sensitive issues, which could create better living conditions globally. In reality, theater can teach valuable skills that can be used in the professional world.
Artuad, Antonin. The Theater and It’s Double. Copyright @ 1958 by Grove Press, Inc. New York. Freshwater, Helen. Theater and Audience. First
published 2009 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, Macmillan Publishers Limited, 785998. Heuvel, Michael Vanden. Performing Drama/Dramatizing Performance: Alternative Theater and the Dramatic Text. Copyright @ by the University of Michigan 1991. The Michigan Press. United States of America. Melnick, Ralph. The Life and Work of Ludwig Lewisohn. Copyright @ 1998 by Wayne State University Press, Detroit, Michigan 42801. Muas, Katharine Eisaman. Inwardness and Theater in English Renaissance. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago. @ 1995 University of Chicago, United States of America. Stumpf, Samuel Enoch. Socrates to Sarte: A History of Philosophy. McGraw-Hill Book Co. Copyright @ 1999 by McGraw-Hill Book Companies, Inc. Geisinger, Alex and Stein, Michael Ashley. A Theory of Expressive International Law. Vanderbilt Law Review 60.1 (2007): 77-131.
Cambridge International Dictionary of English, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1196. Cohen, Cynthia. Creative Approaches to Reconciliation, Brandeis University, pp. 4-9 Grove, Stephen J. and Fisk, Raymond P. The Service Experience As Theater in Advances in Consumer Research Vol. 19, eds., John F. Sherry, Jr. and Brian Sternthal, Advances in Consumer Research Vol. 19: Association for Consumer Research, pages 455-461. Guyer, Paul. Kant’s Theory of Taste: A Reading of the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment (review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.3 (2002): 406-408. Longman Group. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Longman House, Burnt Mill, Harlow, 1995. Martin, Lesley. Theories of Media: Aesthetics. The University of Chicago. 2003.
Mienczakowski, Jim. Pretending to know: ethnography, artistry, and audience. Ethnography and Education. Volume 4, Issue 3, 2009 Special Issue: Shifting boundaries in ethnographic methodology
Pardue, Karen T. Introducing Readers Theater: A Strategy to Foster Aesthetic Knowing in Nursing. Nurse Educator: March/April 2004 – Volume 29 – Issue 2 – pp 58-62 Raben, Rachel Anderson. The Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s Aesthetics of Fun. TDR: The Drama Review 54.4 (2010): 81-98. Radbourne, Jennifer, et al. The Audience Experience: Measuring Quality in the Performing Arts.
International Journal of Arts Management; Spring 2009; 11, 3; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 16. Ruskin, Ellen. Nonverbal Communication and Early Language Acquisition in Children. Journal of Speech Research, Vol. 38, 157-167, February 2005. Wells, Bill. Intonation Abilities of Children With Speech and Language Impairments. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Vol 46(1), Feb 2003, 5-20. C. ELECTRONIC SOURCES
Bruch, Debra. The Experience of Theater. A Guide to Studying the Relationship Between Engineering and Theatre. http://dbruch.hypermart.net/engineer/exper.html Budd, Malcolm (1998). Aesthetics. In E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge. Retrieved September 27, 2012, from http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/M046. Case, Gretchen A.; & Micco, Guy. (2006). Moral Imagination Takes the Stage: Readers’ Theater in a Medical Context.Journal for Learning through the Arts, 2(1). Retrieved from: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/7380r49s Nie, Jing. Staging Spatial Conflicts and Affect in Emotional Postsocialism: Meng Jinghui’s Theater. The China Review. Vol. 11, No. 1 (2011). TheFreeDictionary by Farlex http://www.thefreedictionary.com Copyright @ 2012 by Farlex, Inc.