How can performance prevent rape?

On-stage performance can help us reimagine what we take for granted. This blog looks at how performance can explore different ways to be a woman or a man, and negotiate relationships that are flexible, fun, and freeing.

I suggest that performance can be used as a tool in rape prevention. I look at how performative methods of rape prevention may build upon and develop other forms of social education that work to end rape, creating possibilites for different ways to engage in intimate relationships.

This blog is a personal, theoretical, and performative exploration of how performance can be used in rape prevention.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Differences Between Applied Theatre and Explicit Body Performance

As my research looks at ways that applied theatre and explicit body performance may speak to each other, it is worth starting by looking at how they differ.

I suggest that methods of applied theatre, together with those of explicit body performance, may transform the script of rape. Traditionally these styles are considered to have nothing in common. In fact, theatre-types mark them as distinctly different. I on the other hand, believe they have something to offer each other.

Firstly though, it is worth exploring DIFFERENCES between these performative forms.

Characteristics of Applied Theatre

  • The community is at the centre of performance enquiry
  • Determines community needs through focus groups, community leaders, writing scripts, and determines themes with community
  • Works to develop self-esteem, community-cohesion, education and empowerment
  • May be termed an ‘intervention’ because it intervenes in a problem that is recognised by the community, NGO or government organisations
  • Teaches performance skills as well as doing issue-based work
  • Makes the community or issue explicit
  • May draw upon traditional theatre styles, characters, and scripts; yet may also subvert these very structures
  • Often draws upon folk art

Characteristics of Explicit Body Performance

  • The artist/performer is at the centre of performance enquiry
  • The artist reflects on society and uses their body as a magnifying glass to reflect spectators back to themselves
  • Aims to awaken awe, wonder, and critical reflection in spectators
  • Works to ‘summon the ghosts’ of gender disparity, allowing spectators to re-examine and alter the way they ‘do’ gender/s
  • Subverts traditional theatre styles and characters. May use ‘performance outlines’ rather than ‘scripts’
  • Makes the body of the artist explicit
  • Often works across several artistic mediums

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