ERIC Number: ED344246
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Developmental Perceptions of Reality, Conventions, and Themes in Theatre: "This Is Not a Pipe Dream." Final Technical Report.
Klein, Jeanne M.
A study explored a developmental theory of perceptual skills in theater, assessing developmental perception, reflection, and evaluation of theatrical reality, conventions, and themes. Subjects, 33 second graders, 33 fourth graders, 23 sixth graders, and 23 adults, viewed a 48-minute, nonrepresentational, metatheatrical play entitled "This Is Not a Pipe Dream." Children were interviewed individually and adults completed a questionnaire. Results indicated that: (1) while focused primarily on production values, children increasingly judged a playwright's text for its social believability with greater use of their interpersonal intelligences; (2) second graders relied on explicit visual and verbal cues to perceive the actuality or authenticity of theatrical reality and to describe the overt dramatic actions in themes and conventions; (3) fourth graders began a developmental shift by inferring more character's thoughts, interpreting more artistic motives for conventions, and applying more outside knowledge to judge the possibility of thematic actions; (4) sixth graders considered the plausibility of the protagonist's superobjective and reported acting as a key theater convention as they also prescribed the play's theme to follow one's dreams to society like fourth graders; (5) pre-performance elementary art training may have motivated critical, integrative perceptual searches about physical and social reality; and (6) unlike children, adults suspended disbelief more willingly by judging the performance text contextually from expressionistic conventions and propositional language with more "surrealistic" concepts. By relying primarily on textual content and overt, visual and verbal production forms, this "novice" audience indicated their stereotypical perspectives about non-linear drama and non-realistic theater. (Forty-one tables of data are included. Sixty-five references and nine appendixes containing survey instruments and data are attached.) (Author/SR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Drama in Education; Theater Research