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Theatre and Consciousness

Explanatory Scope and Future Potential

For the last ten to fifteen years, many disciplines of scholarship have been involved in the study of consciousness, often on an interdisciplinary basis. They include philosophy, neurosciences, psychology, physics and biology, and approaches focusing on human experience. The Centre for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson spearheaded this development with its bi-annual conferences since 1994, and a wide range of associations, journals and book publications bear witness to its importance. Over the same number of years, scholarly interest in the relationship of consciousness to theatre has equally grown.
The book discusses a range of questions relevant to understanding the phenomenon of theatre against a consciousness studies background. Those questions include:

• What inspires the dramatist to write a play? This question addresses the nature of the creative process.
• How do different plays reflect human consciousness?
• What kinds of new ideas did major directors or theatre makers, such as Artaud, Grotowski, Barba, and Brook introduce?
• Should actors be personally involved with the emotions they have to portray?
• Are puppets or marionettes superior to actors?
• How to account for the designer’s combination of creativity and practical skill? What part does mental imagination play in the design process? How do designers get their own spatial awareness across to their spectators?
• How does theatre affect the spectator? Why do spectators react as they do? How do distance and suspension of disbelief ‘work’?
An improved and expanded understanding of theatre, resulting from answering the questions above in the context of consciousness studies, should inspire new developments in theatre practice.

256 pages | 6-3/4 x 9

Theatre and Consciousness

Art: Art--General Studies

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction
1: Consciousness, Inspiration and the Creative Process
Examples of Inspiration among Playwrights
Examples of Inspiration among other Artists
Common Characteristics of Reported Inspiration
Explanations of Creative Inspiration
Critique of Inspiration
Altered States of Consciousness
First-Person Approaches and Vedic Science
Inspiration and Vedic Science
The qualities of the experience
Apparent adverse implications of inspiration and the creative process
The relation of inspiration and quality of inspired work of art
The artist’s inspiration and the creative process
Everyone an artist?

2: Human Consciousness Reflected in Drama
States of Consciousness
Altered States of Consciousness (ASC)
Development of Consciousness
Prospero’s enlightenment
Hamlet’s procrastination
3: Consciousness and Acting
The Actor’s Emotional Involvement
Reactions to Stanislavsky: Meyerhold, Brecht, and Strasberg
Bloch’s Alba Emoting
Presence (Barba)
Extra-daily behaviour
Three levels of the body
State (Mnouchkine)
Translumination (Grotowski)
Physical Presence and Neutrality (Artaud)
The Actor and the Marionette
4: Indian Theatre Aesthetics
Date and Origin of the Natyashastra
Issues for Further Debate
The Perspectives of Vedic Science
Gandharvaveda, consciousness and the primordial sound
A reassessment of rasa
Stanislavsky: general points of contact
Artaud: The Balinese inspiration
Grotowski’s retreat from Indian material
Barba: Theatre Anthropology
Brook’s Mahabharata
5: Reception and Audiences
The Sense of Sight: Scenography
Simultaneity of space and time
The Sense of Hearing: Sound, Meaning and the Levels of Language
The Sense of Smell: Smell in the Indian Tradition and its Application to Performance Practice
The Sixth Sense: New Forms of Matter
Photina’; mso-bidi-font-family: ’Times New Roman’; mso-ansi-language: EN-US"Examples of Performance Practice
Ariadne’s Thread
Reverie II
6: Concepts of Theatre Studies
Language of Nature (Artaud)
Theatre of cruelty
Language of nature
Universal Language of Theatre (Brook)
Total and holy theatre
The Quest for a universal language of the theatre
Theatre and Ritual
Utopian Performatives
7: Vedic Science and Materialism: Comments on Demastes’ Staging Consciousness 



Appendix I: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Vedic Science

Appendix II: Vedic Science and Creation

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