Tusitala Publishing


Beyond Theatre cover

Beyond Theatre
a playback theatre memoir
by Jonathan Fox

$22.00 | 2015 | 167 pages
ISBN 978-0-9889857-5-9

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Early in 1974, thirty-one years old, the director of a theatre company that performed so rarely as to be virtually unknown even in our own community, with a young family to support and no regular means of doing it, I wondered what was to become of me. I had a passion for theatre, but a decidedly strange form of it that cherished freedom from scripts, playfulness, and interaction with the audience.
Wandering aimlessly down the main street of New London, Connecticut, one day, a street crowned by a bright sky sloping steeply to the blue waters of a river, I stumbled into a coffee shop and upon the crystallizing idea I sought. In my mind’s eye I looked down at a row of actors, as if from above. They were sitting upstage, facing the audience with full attention. The audience, a small group, was in turn regarding at the actors. The light, the ambience, was warm and inviting. Between actors and audience lay a wooden stage. It was not raised. I knew that the actors were part of the same small community as the audience. They were waiting for someone to tell a story, which they would then act out on the spot.
The crux of the idea consisted of the nature of the story. It would be a personal story. Something real, not made up. The audience would be interested because the teller might well be a neighbor and the story about a subject that mattered to them, too.
In my vision there was no offstage. Every moment was always visible, as in Japanese traditional theatre. Despite the intimacy of the space, the domain of the audience was distinct from the stage. An audience member would have to come onto the edge of the stage to become the narrator.



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