Performance Design


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Design Is a very inclusive subject which Involves and Interacts with several other academic fields. But more specifically, what Is this discipline about and how can we better define It? In the following essay, I will briefly scrutinize the complex sphere of performance studies by taking into account some of the theories from the first theory course of Performance Design and some practical examples from our everyday life.

The concept of performance has undergone a significant revolution over the last cascades, from dealing exclusively with dramaturgy to assuming a more compound and elaborate connotation that is nowadays used and discussed interdisciplinary. ” (… ) Teachers and students are seeking two better understand this notion of performance as a means to gain a deeper understanding of their own fields of study, as well as a pedagogical method.

The buzz over performance Is nearly everywhere In the academy ” 1 At the present time, the anthropologist Victor Turner and the dramaturgy Richard Schooner are considered the central protagonists in the expansion of the latest and deeper notion of performance. Turner has with his anthropological approach produced a model that divides performances in three different categories: cultural performance, social performance and social drama. Cultural performance includes traditional events such as plays, parades, masquerades and carnivals, yet Madison&Hamera, 2006: compendium p. 4 It could also Involve formal rituals such as solemn ceremonies like weddings and funerals. Social Performance consists of those events one conducts everyday, such as talking a walk, shaking hands and cheering at a party. 2 Lastly, the third type of references are categorized under the label Social Drama, meaning those happenings which occur when there is a break, a so-called breach in society’s normative practices. 3 Following this period of breach comes a crisis followed by a redressing action that usually terminates either with a reintegration or a schism. This dramatically course of action and rituals can be observed and applied for example to the sequence of events found in many traditional plays, such as the Greek tragedies or Shakespearean works. 5 Not only that, but these characteristics are still noticeable In nowadays’ screenplay for film or heater. For example, in a movie there might be a conflict and thus an emotional adultery, for instance. This is what Turner refers to as breach. This happening then escalates into some sort of dramatic climax, the crisis phase, such as a divorce.

The third phase – as mentioned before redressing action- is usually when the character involved try to do something about the crisis. The main character might try then to redeem himself and resolve his problems or move on with his life accepting the divorce – which lead to the final phase either reintegration or schism. Furthermore, Turner develops the notions of lamina and Illinois, later also employed by Richard Schooner. Limitability is the formative stage in which an individual finds himself/herself between two phases, such as before and after a sentence of a Juridical process, where the individual undergoes a transformation.

Victor Turner describes this process as being a stage “in betwixt and between” . 6 2 3 4 67 Madison&Hamera, 2006: compendium p. 26 V. Turner, 1996: compendium p. 17 R. Schooner, 2003: compendium. P. 39 ( extract from V. Turner 1974 ) R. Schooner, 003: compendium. P. 39 R. Schooner, 2003: compendium. P. 39 ( extract from V. Turner 1974 ) Some years later also Richard Schooner has constituted a classification of performances. Schooner’s classification slightly reminds of Turner’s division of performances, yet Schooner’s classification focuses more on dramaturgy rather than anthropology.

However, both classifications share some characteristics which better help define the concept of performance. For example, both divisions are universal, in the sense that they both can be used to describe and clarify any kind of reference regardless of the historical times we are in, or where in the world the events take place. 7 Moreover, Schooner and Turner’s classifications and perspectives share the idea of the aesthetic form of theater as a way of transmitting experiences and information intercultural. “(… We both envision theater as an important means for the intercultural transmission of painfully achieved modalities of experience. (… ) We can learn from experience- from the enactment and performance of the culturally transmitted experiences of others (… ) “8 One might therefore deduce that performances, art related or not, all over the world not only highlight and mark differences in social classes, cultural identity and diversity, but also help develop an understanding and respect of the other and provide a forum for exchanging experiences.

One of the many approaches to Performance Studies known as Ethnomusicology better collects all these varied thoughts. In fact, this most recent model of Performance Studies employs a cultural relativist approach, which specifically rejects ethnocentrism in an attempt to understand the performances in their cultural, 996: compendium p. 21 7 9 Ethnocentrism : “Judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one’s own culture.

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