Not moving but being moved

by Angela David | 1 January 2016

The heart of the performers is moved which in turn moves their audience.

“It is said that the mark of a great piece of theatre is the conversation it sparks that lasts long after the curtain has fallen.”

As a director this is exciting. To create something that is long lasting and which inspires change in the ways people think about things or act towards each other is a powerful incentive. Certainly considering 20th century theatre styles this is common. Making political statements and eliciting change is a large part of theatre. This empowerment intrigues me as a director but I am never convinced that this is all that my work in theatre is about. Nor does it make sense to me that provocation is only outward and on the audience. Or perhaps this is the catharsis that the Greeks sought to incite in their theatrical pursuits.

Educational theatre is slightly different. Of course, engaging students in making change in their world is part of our mandate. But the term provocative theatre takes on an added meaning when working with young people. I have found that young theatre explorers want to be challenged. Provocative theatre in education allows a pathway for students to question and explore their own thoughts. Also, because we are experimenting most of the time in class what should be provoked is student emotion and engagement. In this way, provocative theatre is about focusing on creating new ways of thinking in the artist rather than the audience. I think that any audience other than the other participants who are, in turn, being abraded will never experience much of what is explored.

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