New PDF release: Feeling Theatre

By Martin Welton (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0230355536

ISBN-13: 9780230355538

ISBN-10: 1349319015

ISBN-13: 9781349319015

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Extra resources for Feeling Theatre

Sample text

Informed in part by his own experience, and by a substantial series of interviews and correspondence with leading actors and actresses in Great Britain and France, Archer sought to show how Diderot’s position was based on not only a limited knowledge of theatre, but also a misreading of psychology. This newly naturalised science, informed by works such as Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, seemed to show that emotions were entirely natural, physiological phenomena that corresponded to the performance of their expression – itself a natural function of the human animal.

In it, the NEF suggests that amongst factors such as ‘flow’, ‘being moved’, ‘challenge’ and ‘energy and tension’, which are frequent contributory components of an audience member’s overall sense of ‘enjoyment’, also of significance are ‘shared experience and atmosphere’ and ‘personal resonance and emotional connection’. These latter factors are important not only insofar as they offer audiences a sense of ‘togetherness’ but also in the extent to which ‘experiencing feelings of empathy with characters that are portrayed in theatre, people may come to know themselves better’ (2010, p.

In each instance, the subjects, 12 professional actors, and a control group of four scientists, were measured for indicators of autonomic activity such as skin galvanicity, heart rate, muscular tension and so on. The results of the experiment showed that not only were differences in autonomic activity apparent in relation to each target emotion, but that they were considerably more marked during the reconstruction of facial expressions than during the mnemonic recall exercise. This seemed to validate not only a link between facial expression and emotion (‘facial feedback’), but also the apparent universality of the ‘target’ (basic) emotions.

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Feeling Theatre by Martin Welton (auth.)


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