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«Education to Theatricality: The Theatrical Workshop as a Training Model the Expressive and Performing Arts in Education Gaetano Oliva1,* 1 Faculty of ...»

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http://wje.sciedupress.com World Journal of Education Vol. 5, No. 2; 2015

Education to Theatricality: The Theatrical Workshop as a Training Model

the Expressive and Performing Arts in Education

Gaetano Oliva1,*


Faculty of Education, Italian department, Catholic University, Milan, Italy

*Correspondence: Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano, Facoltà di Scienze della Formazione,

Dipartimento di Italianistica e Comparatistica, Largo Gemelli, 1, 20123 Milano, Italy. E-mail:

gaetano.oliva@unicatt.it Received: January 7, 2015 Accepted: April 2, 2015 Online Published: April 10, 2015 doi:10.5430/wje.v5n2p86 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5430/wje.v5n2p86 Abstract Background: Education to Theatricality as pedagogical and artistic research is experienced by almost twenty years in Italy in laboratories and projects organized in collaboration with universities, schools, theaters, educational centers, cultural centers, educational and social services, associations. Education to Theatricality is a science that includes different of disciplines such as pedagogy, sociology, human sciences, psychology and the performing arts in general.

The scientific basis of this discipline allows us to apply it in all possible contexts possible and with any individual, because it keep the man as he is in the center of its pedagogical process. One of the fundamental principles of Education to Theatricality is the construction of the actor - person; the main aim is the development of creativity and imagination through a scientific training leads by the actor on himself. The present theoretical writing synthetically introduces the fundamental elements of the theory.

Method: This study discusses relationship between theater and education analyzing the main elements of this meeting.

First part presents the theories: the birth of the theatrical workshop, development of Education to Theatricality and the definition of its theoretical issues: I-AM’s scheme; creative subject, creative act; laboratory and its aesthetic philosophy: Art as a vehicle. Second part presents theater pedagogy through creative movement. The text presents the exercises on the languages of human communication the method of work. Third part presents projects and planning in education laboratory expressive arts.

Conclusions: Education to Theatricality as pedagogy uses the expressive arts into the theatre workshop for to lead the subject to path of growth and training activating the original potential skills of this person.

Keywords: innovative pedagogical models; art education; aesthetic education; early childhood education; special education; theatre education

1. First Part: Theory. Theater and Education Art forms like music, dance, theater, painting, visual and plastics arts representative expressions of a humanity that, since the dawn of its history, trying to get in touch with her inner self.

Why we can speak about the relationship between the theater and the education? We can answer only if we consider the needs of the twenty-first century. Today theatre can be defined only taking accounts of educative contexts. In fact, this is the new theatre frontier, from the point of view of the actor, of the scene, of the dramaturgy. Afterwards great avant-gardes, research, years characterized by tendencies and oppositions, we need a theatre that considers pedagogy and that shows itself as a mental and physic place where both, human and actor, can regain their forces. This change is rich of anthropological implications; in fact it has created an ideal place where the masters of twentieth century can interact, joining or breaking away, stimulating the reproduction of their thoughts. The theatre, now, accepts itself as an ancient and primal art that lives on in the present. It is living a sort of unexpected youth and it seems to be outside the contemporary world, which is characterized by a returning oldness in a lot of different areas. In its history, theatre has often been the copy of the social system and of the anthropological type. If we compare the present theatre to the historical traditions, we can see that it is ready to perform particular functions which are original and primal. It unites the dramatic objectivity of events to the lyrics contents of the actor; it transforms the

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social-educative dynamics into scenic forms; it reclaims the narration, which comes from its own physiology and not from the narrative traditions. It assimilates the past to its relational system.

The present situation is still now uncertain, maybe because it is inhibited by the great twentieth century theatre examples. The present theatre is far from the historical dynamics between traditional and new, ancient and modern, and it is characterized by two fields of research. The first one considers theatre as something to rebuild and discover, something which can realize new structures, new art forms and new way to create relationship between actors and audience outside the institutional places, for example in the educative world. The second one is about dramaturgy. It is he time to pass over the theatrical text and to look for a new kind of writing. It should be more creative, come out directly from the stage and it should pay more attention to the needs of the context. Then, this dramaturgy can be considered a new writing because it is created just by the new generations that are involved in the present educative world. Here it is the reason of our choice to study the relationships between the theater and the education inside a theoretical framework in contemporary scientific research: Education to Theatricality.

1.1 Thoughts and Utopia: The Theatre of the Twenty-First Century New esthetic researches come from the concept of art as vehicle. The twenty-first century theatre is characterized by a lot of particular events, for example the idea of theater as vehicle (by Grotowski) and, consequently, the birth of Education to Theatricality. This is an element that testimony how much the theatrical art is changing during this new century.

1.2 The Birth of Education to Theatricality New esthetic researches come from the concept of art as vehicle. These researches want to create, through the theatre, a relationship with humans that must have a value and a sense, until reaching a society that needs theatre. This concept comes from the reflections of Appia and Craig, who have thought over the scenography, of Stanislavskij, Vachtangov, Mejerchol’d, Copeau, Chancerel who were interested in the actor’s point of view, of Brecht, a dramatist, and of many others. The new theatre wants to regain a human, social and cultural complexity of art, seen as expressive communication and human realization (Oliva, 2011: pp. 72-82).

This theatre is composed of two dimensions: it is focused on the human training and, consequently, of the actor. It has also the aim to break down the barriers between the stage and the viewers. The actor is the center of the researches of the twenty first century: his expressive dimension of making theatre, his relationship with the audience and with other actors. This is an actor who uses himself consciously to express something.

At the beginning of twenty-first century, the actors who wanted to join in the local company often decided to attend a theatre school. In fact, a lot of the greater theatres have an own school, like for example the Art Theatre of Moscow.

These schools were linked to a particular teacher, but they have not either method, or theoretic basis or a pedagogical plan. Their purpose was to break in the future actors to mount shows in a very short time. Nevertheless in this theatre Konstantin Sergeevic Aleksèev Stanislavskij revolutionized the “theatrical technics” opposing to that idea of actors’ training. He started from his experience as actor and he inserted a method of experimental research on the actor, developing some ideas of Appia and Craig, his predecessors. The Stanislavskij System is not just a theory, it is a pedagogical praxis, and it is transmission of an experience through the action. According to Stanislavskij’s idea, an actor has to learn, in order to train new actors. He has to be able to show the research path, that must be personalized by who wants to undertake the long process of self-awareness. If somebody saw Stanislavskij’s actors from a distance, he could think that they owned mysterious secrets and particular instruments. In reality they were just men, characterized by a great morality and who have experienced a particular kind of training, which had changed them.

Grotowski passed over Stanislavskij’s concepts, and he underlined the importance of the person’s training respect the theatrical product, even if this one has to have an esthetic form because it permit the communication between the actor and the audience.

The meeting between the dramatic art and pedagogy, for the first time in history, is one of the factors that have influenced the changing of the theatre during the twentieth century (after Grotowski). Theatre and pedagogy have discovered to have the same purposes and the same interests: the theatre allows human to emphasize his expressive skills and to show hid creativity and imagination. The attention moves from the performance (which was considered the final purpose of the dramatic experience) to the actor as the real protagonist of this dramatic renewal.

The Education to Theatricality and the laboratory method, the studies, the schools of the great pedagogues of the twentieth century, the concept of the theatrical laboratory by Grotowski, are an occasion for actors to express themselves freely. The theatre laboratory is called Studio by Stanislavskij, Grotowski and Education to Theatricality and it is born to find a solution for professional problems. Now, the laboratory is the center of the new theatre

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pedagogy, which considers the exercises as an active part of the theatre and not only something useful to mount shows. The exercises are an important part of the actor’s training, of the “trenàz” as Mejerchol’d says; they are essential for the performance, but they are not a part of it. During the Studio time, each actor tries to find expressive e possibilities with body and voice. So, he can have a lot of chances of expression that he can use in the course of the performance. If we analyze the pedagogical work of the laboratory, we can notice that it is strictly linked to a process stimulated by the pedagogues-director who holds it. The director spurs up actors that can have always new experience thanks to exercises and improvisations. This technics are the most important part of the whole work; they represent the creative process phase, when actors are looking for what they do not know; they are useful to replace creativity to repetition and to create an own tradition. At the end of the process, the actor has to think over his work, to understand what he has lived and how he has improved his awareness.

The laboratory is born just for theatre, but then it is become a useful educative instrument, above all thanks to Grotowski’s theories. In fact it is a well delimitated period of time and a protected place. Moreover, it has the same educative aims of the most important pedagogues of the last two century, as Froebel, Dewey, Montessori, Ferrière, Claparède, who thought that experience has a training value for the students. In the Laboratory, the master-group leader does not teach, he offers his own technic and professional skills. The students, if they are conveniently led, can face an individual process and through it they can listen to themselves and discover their limits and their skills.

They learn new abilities, useful to express their thought and their feelings. In the Education to Theatricality the laboratory is a physic and a mental place where the pupil can develop a work useful to his growth, it is a chance to learn by doing, with the belief that the most important aspect of the laboratory is the process and not the end. In order to better understand the changes of the theatre over the last years, it is better to consider its single elements instead of to think it as a great united art, and these elements can be considered humble “trades”.

1.3 Education to Theatricality”: A Science “Education to Theatricality” has a lot of purposes to contribute to the psycho-physic well-being of each person;

particularly it wants to help everyone to realize himself, as human being and as social actor; it wants to give everybody the chance to reveal his own diversity and specificity, because everybody has a message to convey through his body and his voice (Oliva, 2014: pp. 1758-1775). The “Education to Theatricality” wants to stimulate skills, it wants to develop a better awareness of interpersonal relationships; it wants also give space to the assignment meaning process, because it considers “doing” as important as thinking, that permit to develop awareness about personal acts. Over the past few years, pedagogy, inspired from psychology, medicine and existential philosophy, has corrected his intellectualism and started to underline the importance to have a vision of the whole human being, who is composed by different components. At the same time, it emphasizes the inventive possibilities of each person.

The dramatic expression, as a mean of education, is the perfect answer to this new cultural perspective.

Education to Theatricality cannot be considered part of just one particular artistic discipline, but it must be inserted into a wide-ranging analysis of man and of human being's existence. Movement crosses several disciplines because we start our synthesis from the anthropological concept of art, which does not coincide with the realization of an aesthetic product, but with man's need to manifest and represent himself. Expressive arts become a vehicle through which every man finds and defines his own place in the world. Art is linked to a process, an inner research of meaning carried out by the person; it is tied to the universal Ego of human nature. Dramatic expression, in fact, is a constant call for every kind of language. Spontaneity is not lawlessness or disorder, in fact it is necessary to adapt roles and to build agreements with others to increase our own ego and to tend to a greater awareness.

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