Portland State University. Graduate Studies and Research. Interdisciplinary Programs
Date of Award
Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS)
1 online resource (iv, 127 p.)
Improvisation (Acting), Comedy -- Social aspects
Improvisational theater can tell us much about the driving social and cultural forces behind collaboration and collective constructions of reality, as well as the sorts of behaviors and practices that bolster their efficacy. The collaboration of the performers on generating a comedic piece of theater spontaneously from audience suggestions in a long improvisation creates a sense of what Victor Turner called communitas for the performers. That phenomenon can create a larger sense of socio-emotional unity between the audience and performers. Turning an anthropological lens on comedy theater, this presentation explores the performer-audience dynamic and its impact on the success of an improvised comedic performance. Research was conducted through an ethnography of improvisational acting troupes and their audiences in Rochester, New York, and presents a series of unique situated references that help delineate a social bond between the audience and performers, or a "micro" version of what Gary Allan Fine and Michaela DeSoucey term a "joking culture."
Fortier, Brad, "Long Form Improvisation - Creating Spontaneous Communities Through Collaborative Comedic Performance" (2008). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 32.