The Conventions of Theatre, the Aesthetic, and Living.

Posted on July 3, 2011


In theatre, it seems to me, much of the craft exists to overcome the obstacles created by the conventions of theatre itself.

No, we are not in a darkened black box watching a rehearsed performance by one or more actors; we are, we all hope and pretend, somewhere else very different.

Even meta-theatrical antics that call attention to the artificiality of theatrical conventions seems to me to be a conceptual variant of clever set design. I know you know that I know that you know this is all make believe; let’s “make believe” anyways.

Once we peel away the conventions of theatre, the heart of it, I think, is compelling human interaction. Even the most imaginative and fantastical dimensions of theatre seems primarily to be a vehicle to those human interactions. People may find it easiest to talk about the costumes and the set design but the magnet draw comes from compelling human interaction.

If this is the case, I can’t help but wonder, should we rest content to strive for these kinds of experiences only in the context of darkened black boxes? Alternatively, are the conventions of the aesthetic a necessary precondition for the possibility of this kind of human interaction? If the conventions of the aesthetic are necessary, what conventions of living does it help us overcome?

Posted in: Philosophy