Guiding the 'Post- Spectator' in Sri Lankan Theatre

Sunethra Kankanamge


“Spectator is an authentic community. It expresses a modernistic ideology onspectator, using its special paradigm”.

The above quote applies very much to the contemporary stage dramas in acontext where encroaching technologies have created a paradigm shift within the theatreand perception of the relationship between performance, space and lighting. Attemptsare made, using an electric bell, or in terms of direct instructions to maintain silence orto switch off the mobile phones to guide or control the spectator before thecommencement of a play.

In this paper, I examine the shift in the concept of spectatorship from a premodernto a postmodern age with respect to „guiding the post spectator‟ with specialsignificance to the Sri Lankan theatre. Further, the paper will also examine thedramaturgy of the spectator. In particular, I will examine the question whether it isnecessary to “prepare” the spectator for a play as done in the contemporary plays usingtechnology.

The resource materials of the methodology will consist of readings of researchon contemporary audience, articles and commentaries, as well as observations of thelive performances of contemporary theatre. Accordingly, I shall rely on theory as wellas performances in tracing the visual picture of leading the audience in thecontemporary times in the context of 'guiding the post-spectator.'

Keywords:Post-spectator, spectatorship, dramaturgy, pre-modern, post-modern

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