Monday, December 18, 2006

Theatre of the Occult

In my online travels, I run across many a strange and exotic idea. Most of the time it's part of a greater body of research; I will be "infogorging" on a particular subject that takes a wild tangent. One such tangent led me to "Pop Occulture" the blog of occult investigator Tim Boucher.

Not too long ago Tim blogged on the subject of "The Metaphysics of Media", regarding motion pictures in particular. He states:

Applying that to the matter at hand, we could think of a movie as being a complex set of events, out of which certain events are selected to be filmed. Those events which end up on film are then collected together, edited down and arranged in a linear sequence. The result is what we call a movie or film.

The trick lies in that this movie is composed of selected and arranged events (the "Original Events" - OE), but that the showing of viewing of that movie is in itself an event as well (a "New Event" - NE). In economic terms, we might say that the more people who see this movie, the more "real" the New Event created by the movie becomes. It becomes a shared reference point for masses of people and is added to the cultural lexicon. But if no one watches the movie, it is considered a "flop."
I believe that this could be restated for live theatre.

The word "occult" comes from the Latin occultus meaning clandestine, hidden, or secret. The majority of what we actually do in theatre is hidden from the audience. The audiencprivyt privvy to the audition process, rehearsals, design work, etc. They see the resulting synergy of all those "Original Events" manifest in the moment, participating with their attention and "suspension of disbelief." In theatre, as in engineering, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. As a result, theatre can be a transcendent experience. I have had glimpses of this in my short career. I think we all have.

This sort of thing isn't typically considered very seriously when staging a show. Yet I wonder what would occur if we practiced theatre with transcendence as our goal.

Would Bacchus himself show up and demand an aisle seat?

1 comment:

Pamela Moore said...

I know I would.