LIVE ARTS FOR THE EVERYDAY – APPLICABLE THOUGHT #58 – Estrangement Effect

This term (Verfremdungseffekt) was introduced by Bertolt Brecht to refer to the aim of preventing the audience from reacting to the characters in a play without being aware of it. The fictional nature of stage action is highlighted and the audience is invited to question their emotional reaction to it. In this way the audience becomes witness not only to what is happening in the play, but also to themselves. We can become very involved in our stories, to the point that we are driven by the role we play in them and lose the bigger picture. Can we look at them as an outside witness to gain greater awareness and freedom?

 

 

María Ferrara

 

LIVE ARTS FOR THE EVERYDAY – APPLICABLE THOUGHT #52 – Theme

The theme is the central topic of something. The notion that a piece has to have a theme and be about something was put into question during the first half of the 20th Century by postmodern art, including dance, music and theater. With this break, artists compose work which is open enough to invite the audience to make their own meaning or they avoid it completely and compose according to purely formal methodologies. In this way, a piece is no longer a medium encoding a message, but an experience in itself. Just perceiving something as opposed to conceptualizing it, analyzing it, evaluating it or making sense of it is more difficult than it may seem. We can also call it being witness. Or meditation, which has been around far longer than postmodernism.

 

 

María Ferrara