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Social Sciences In Theatre Essay Research Paper

Social Sciences In Theatre Essay, Research Paper

Social Sciences in Theatre

How are the social sciences associated with theatre?

In his article Performance Studies , Helbo identifies many social sciences associated with theatre including psychology, sociology, and semiotics. Psychology, he states, has greatly increased the work of the actor by giving him a tool to examine his character or role in greater depth. Psychology has also affected the spectator by creating a release and even a form of therapy. Sociology is used in theatre to determine the cultural politics involved, the link between demand patterns and economic patterns, and the role of theatre in everyday life. Semiotics plays a vital role in theatre by determining how signs, whether they are speech pattern or facial expression, affect the audience.

Schechner focuses solely on anthropology and its use in theatre. Schechner even goes so far as to define theatre anthropology. It is defined as the study of the biological and cultural behavior of man in a theatrical situation. He writes that anthropology and theatre have no definite boundary and uses anthropology to show theatrical aspects in everyday life, which brings one to ask the second question.

How do the social sciences show theatre used in everyday life?

Helbo uses sociology and biology to site instances through which theatre is used in everyday life. Sociologists see theatre in the social structures we face on a daily basis. A handshake, tipping a doorman and even the forbidden middle finger is what Erving Goffman terms rituals of interaction. Every culture is immersed in some aspect of performance, even biologists can see theatre in everyday occurrences. The biologist Laborit sees behavioral functions associated with theatre as liberating. He also states that theatre releases people from the prohibition of capitalist, consumer society.

Schechner demonstrates the theatricality in daily life with anthropology. He sees ritual performance as an inherent quality in every human. He sites numerous religious, social, and economic rituals from around the globe that integrate performance with everyday life. Schechner demonstrates that theatre is present in virtually every culture, whether they realize it or not.