Audience-Oriented Forms of Performance in the 21st Century

Ayrin Ersöz


The use of space in the mainstream performing arts is based on the division of the acting and performing spaces with an imaginary wall. The sharp division of the space by this invisible conventional border, also called the fourth wall, originated from the fundamentally distinct role definitions assigned to the audience and the actors. On the other hand, especially since mid-twentieth century, due to the fast improvement in mass media technologies audiencing has widely shifted from the public space to the private space. Because of this shift the staging forms appropriate to the traditional space order became unresponsive to the needs of new acting and audiencing, and caused a search for alternative ways. In this respect, especially since the 1960’s there have been many experiments examining both the acting and the audiencing activity from every aspect. These experiments invited the audience again into the public space, in search of new ways in which the audience could take an active role in a dynamic audience field. In these forms of performance, passive audience positions are completely abandoned and the role of the audience is reconstructed as an active element of the work itself. Since the beginning of the 21st century, there is a new trend in the Western performing arts, which is based on a participatory, interactive and immersive performance approach. Especially in the immersive performance approach, the audience is invited to a multi-sensory experience. To the extent that they actively participate in the experience, they gain the freedom of creating different audiencing forms and even reconstructing the plot. In these kinds of forms, the audience is invited to almost a realistic experience in spaces constructed to create this realistic feeling. Providing a holistic perception and participation, this experience goes beyond the conventional audiencing forms based on the audio and visual senses, by addressing and stimulating the olfactory, gustatory, and tactile senses. It also allows the audience to participate in the movements of the performers as well as follow them in the almost realistically constructed performance spaces. As today’s audience is accustomed to being active players on the internet and creating worlds at their fingertips on virtual games, new narratives that bring together the audience and the performing arts are thus constructed.

DOI: 10.5901/ajis.2015.v4n1s2p31

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Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies ISSN 2281 3993(Print) ISSN 2281-4612(Online)

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