Perception, Phenomenology and the Object as Actor: The Evidence of Form in Redmoon Theater’s Hunchback
When a human actor performs on stage, a relationship is established between that human actor and the human beings in the audience. Sometimes we say that the actor is “standing in” for the audience, sometimes we say that audience identifies with the character, sometimes we say that an empathic bond is created between the human beings on either side of the stage. When we use these terms we are grasping for a way to address the phenomenological relationship of intersubjectivity. We, in the audience, come to know the character on stage because that character is presented by a human being who has a body like ours, who moves and encounters things as we do, who has intentions, desires, emotions as we might have if we were there instead of him or her. When the performance is not one of human theater, but of object theater, that is, when all or part of the human actor is replaced by an object, a puppet, or a mask, we have to reconsider the kind of relationship that is formed between actor and audience, and how that relationship comes to be. The basis for the intersubjective relationship, the human body, is no longer fully available to us. What is given instead is an object or objects. A mask is an object that substitutes for the human face, and may or may not reveal the human body. A puppet replaces the human body in its entirety, and it may or may not reveal the bodies of the human puppeteers who animate it. Our response to an object character is necessarily different from our response to that character when played by a human actor.
KeywordsPerceptual Experience Object Performance Human Face Object Character Formal Evidence
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