Towards a preliminary taxonomy of Multi-Sensory Deprivation/Stimulation Theatre for the analysis of selected plays
Despite the vast research into the separate senses and their different uses in the theatre, little is found on a complete study of all the combined senses in the theatre. Studies on the senses could easily range from medical dissertations to the arts. This is probably why so few artists and scholars study this field because of every individual's experience of the senses. The challenging part of this study was to see how subjective studies about the senses are, and how little is documented when it comes to the arts and senses. This study borrows theories from leading theatre practitioners and scholars like Carrol, Artaud, Banes & Lepecki and Welton. These chapters consist of literature studies where these theories are applied to the specific sense in question. All of these chapters are tied together with Shklovsky’s twin terms: sensitisation and desensitisation. Van den Oever (2010: 62) explains these terms by saying that through time we have grown accustomed to the things that surround us, and that our perception of these things has been automatised, thus leaving most of these things unnoticed. This is where sensory theatre challenges our perceptions. It disrupts our automatized notions of theatre, sensitising us to how our senses react.This study aims to develop a framework in which artists can see what the possible effects are of stimulating or depriving the senses in theatre. This framework is then applied to three existing theatre productions from three different genres. This preliminary taxonomy will thus provide theatre practitioners and researchers one complete framework for all the senses, how they might be used in theatre and what effect this might have on attendants.
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