ERIC Number: ED246494
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov-20
Skills and Challenges: Playgoing as "Flow" Experience.
The best art experience has often been characterized as a kind of balance between the familiar and the unfamiliar, the expected and the unexpected, the easy and the hard. Good directors and actors have the artistry to be able to play on the orientation reactions of the audience. They know how to structure a production or performance so that it alternately creates and reduces tension--surprising or confusing audience members, then allowing them to relax and reflect. The principle of flow occurs when a participant's skills are matched evenly to challenges; if skill exceeds challenge, boredom results. If challenge exceeds skill, anxiety results. The theatre experience presents challenges in the form of great quantities of sensory data. To meet these challenges, audience members bring skills of perception and, especially, organization. If these skills are unbalanced, they have the same effect on the theatre experience that they have on other activities; i.e., they produce boredom or anxiety. Ideal playgoers learn to overcome these undesirable results by symbolically restructuring the situation, either by narrowing their focus to avoid overload of sensory data and anxiety or by broadening their perspective and setting new problems for themselves to increase the challenge. (CRH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (73rd, Denver, CO, Nov. 18-23, 1983).