Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

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Jocelyn Buckner


Theatre has been fighting for a proper place in society since its inception in Ancient Greece. Although the ancient civilizations of the western world adored theatre and incorporated it into their daily lives, in later years it struggled to find acceptance. Theaters and theatre professionals often received blame for the spread of disease and rises in miscreant behavior. This yoyo-like trend between acceptance and ostracism continued throughout the ages as theatre and the encompassing societies evolved and changed. Thusly, the theatre has always been a point of contention and discussion. Even to this day, critics and scholars alike theorize and philosophize over its intention and craft practices. Yet despite the continuous conversations about theatre, it is nearly impossible to describe what theatre is in the modern moment. To understand this concept, I analyze many perspectives on theatre, ranging from the philosophers of Ancient Greece to the famous Elizabethan writers to proponents of the Stanislavsky method and forward. I compare opinions collected from modern theatregoers, performers, and scholars to those aforementioned perspectives of the past, in order to find parallels and patterns, working under the assumption that the past informs the present. In this thesis, I aim to determine the greatest influencers of modern theatrical perspectives, and to understand, and ultimately define what theatre is to a modern audience.


Presented at the Fall 2014 Undergraduate Student Research Day at Chapman University.