Thomas’ / Marion’s 7th April 1980 – The Holonovel

I believe that the roots of the shrinking demand for theatre in the western world lies in stagnation. After the great insurrection of practitioners in the 20th century like Grotowski, Brecht, Brook or Johnstone, I feel that many local theatres decided to return to a Stanislavski based approach. Now, entering the 21st century, a significant shift in the audience’s perception of what is worth watching can be observed: Instead of only being a spectator, many people like going on Safari trips, bungie jumping or other sorts of activity, which put the spectator into the role of a Protagonist co-writing an own story. Best example is probably reality TV, in which the audience perceives the illusion of having power over who has leave the Big Brother House for instance. As Richard Schechner and Augusto Boal realised there is a tremendous opportunity for theatre unravelling from this phenomenon, since it is the most personal form of art. It has to become possible to enter a theatre and then experience something greater than mere watching and hoping that inner purification is transmitted by good actors. I believe that this Aristotelian idea of catharsis could best be achieved by not just presenting the audience with the possibility of passively interacting with actors as Schechner suggested in his theory of new or environmental theatre, but by providing the opportunity for the audience to feel and write the narrative they enter. My role in this independent project hence became one of a theatre maker.

The Holonovel (full version – pdf)