International Essays on Theatre for Young Audiences- A Publication of ASSITEJ and ITYARN
Edited By Manon van de Water
Destabalizing Perception and Generating Meaning Seeking? Modeling TYA on the Dramaturgy of Children´s Imaginative Play-Drama
179 Destabilizing Perception and Generating Meaning Seeking? Modeling TYA on the Dramaturgy of Children’s Imaginative Play-Drama Faith Gabrielle Guss Introduction Innovative and meaningful theatre for children from three to seven years of age can be inspired by artists’ insight into children’s dramatic playing: its themes, symbolic form-languages, and expressive conventions. This statement is based on findings in my doctoral research (Drama Performance). From these findings, I will address the seminar themes: “the intersection of culture and aesthetics,” and “how this issue affects perception and the generation of meaning.” From a cul- tural anthropological perspective, the aesthetics of theatre art emerge out of the particular cultural, socio-political context in which artists are embedded. Their subjectivities, artistic sensibilities, preferences, and intentions are formed by this context, in whatever ideological direction. These, in turn, determine the nature of the creative process and its aesthetic outcomes in performance. As director, co-dramatist, and teacher in devising theatre for children three to seven years of age, I experienced a strong urge to study children’s cultural aesthetic: How do children, in the drama medium of their autonomous and col- lective pretend play, investigate, reflect over, interpret, and communicate their experiences and its meanings? In a field study in a kindergarten in Oslo, I filmed dramatic play sequences and transcribed and analyzed several of these in depth— as if they were theatre productions. In attempts to understand and make visible the players’ formal content and the meanings it carries, I applied theoretical per- spectives from social anthropology (Turner)...
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