What is the relationship between ritual and theatre

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what is the relationship between ritual and theatre

It seems in conventional history of the theatre there is a dominance of text The distinction I see between performance and ritual is that often ritual Performance relies on the emotional connection of the audience to create. One can depict the distinction between efficacious (ritual) performances and a complexly interactive relationship among ritual, theater, religion, and politics. In Seleucid Babylonia, performance was politics. In this colonial state, the temple, theatre and ritual were established as a middle ground.

Still, despite all suspicions and condemnations, Western churches and branches of Islam have used theater and dance. Beginning at dawn and going until dusk, the performances took place in the streets, while richly detailed scenes mounted on wagons proceeded along fixed routes. The enactments were replete with angels, devils, hellmouth, and Eden. Various cycles consisted of a number of individual plays. For example, at York, England, infifty-seven plays were put on at twelve to sixteen locations.

These extraordinary cycles arose out of a confluence of the Mass, the Quem quaeritis trope a tenth-century Easter dramaand popular entertainments that never died out from Roman times and whose shamanistic origins date back to prehistory. The cycles peaked in the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries.

Can we use theatre as ritual?

Although most were extinguished by the Renaissance, some remnants persisted, not only in the famed performances that take place every ten years in Oberammergau, Germany, but also among Native American and Hispanic peoples who have fused European traditions with indigenous performance practices.

Waehma retells the story of Christ's passion in Yaqui terms. It incorporates indigenous performance techniques into the religious theater brought from Europe by the Jesuits in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Much of what the Yaqui of northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States perform took shape during the century afterwhen the Jesuits were withdrawn from the New World.

Waehma consists of many episodes and observances enacted over the six-week span from Lent to Easter.

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The story focuses on the actions of masked figures called Chapayekam who join the Soldiers of Rome—a group of up to fifty men dressed in black—in the pursuit and crucifixion of Jesus. The Chapayekam wear helmet masks similar to those of the Zuni and other tribal peoples of the Sonoran Desert and adjoining areas. Their ritual practices, which includes farce and parody, are similar to those of other Native American tribal nations.

On Good Fridaya large group of wailing women, including the Marys, follow Jesus—represented by an eighteen-inch figure—around the stations of the cross, which the Yaqui call the Konti Vo'o. At the eleventh cross, the symbolic Christ is tied to a cross as nails are driven into the figure's "flesh. Later that night, Jesus is resurrected and the church is liberated. The Chapayekam and the Soldiers of Rome are infuriated.

They set out to recover Jesus and recapture the church. On Holy Saturday morning the climatic battle takes place that pits the Chapayekam and the Soldiers of Rome against the forces of good represented by sacred Deer and Pascola ritual clowns dancers, Matachin dancers a dance society of men and boysand "little angels" i. The Deer and Pascolas are unique to the Yaqui and allied native peoples; the Matachins derive from Europe.

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Waehma takes place everywhere in a Yaqui town: Although the Chapayekam are successful in capturing and killing Jesus, they are unable to impose their rule permanently on the church or the people.

On Holy Saturday morning, the Chapayekam and the Soldiers of Rome attempt to recapture Jesus, whose resurrected figure has been placed on the altar.

what is the relationship between ritual and theatre

Three times they storm the church. From inside the church the little angels rush forward to beat the attackers with their sticks. Close by the Deer and the Matachins dance while the Pascolas throw flower petals on the attackers. The flowers, which are sacred to the Yaqui, represent both the blood of Jesus and the sacred huya aniya, the desert "flower world" of the Yaqui. Each time the Chapayekam and the Soldiers of Rome are driven back they are further weakened by the power of the flowers, the dancing, and the vigorous clanging of the church bell.

The defense of the Yaqui village is a complete cacophony-synthesis of Native American and European cultures. Finally defeated, the Chapayekam throw off their masks, and the Chapayekam and the Soldiers of Rome are transformed, liberated themselves from the awesome holy work they have dedicated themselves to perform annually. After casting their masks on the pyre, the Yaqui men rush back into the church to kneel in thanks before the altar.

At this point, the year's greatest fiesta commences, continuing long into Saturday night. The Deer, Pascolas, and Matachins dance; other native dances and entertainments are also featured. The people eat their fill. Carnivals Like Waehma, carnivals mark the Easter season. But unlike Waehma, carnivals do not enact the passion or the resurrection directly.

They collapse ritual time, as they simultaneously struggle against Lenten prohibitions and predict Easter's life-returning fertility. To some degree, carnivals may be classified as antireligious religious performances, because they could not exist without being in oppositional reference to religious and civil authorities.

what is the relationship between ritual and theatre

But, at the same time, there is much going on that is officially sanctioned, well-organized, and tourist-friendly. Carnivals are characterized by an exuberant outburst of public and private masking, partying, dancing, parading, music making, and drinking.

Taking over the streets during the days before Lent, carnivals are a tumultuous acting out of permitted festivity, inebriation, and lewdness that, traditionally, yield to a season of sorrow ultimately redeemed by the resurrection.

Carnivals are celebrated primarily in Europe and the Western Hemisphere, but their performance practices in the New World and West Indian diasporic communities include elements from Africa, Asia, and Native America. Taken as a whole, the carnival complex is a ritual performance of great magnitude.

Days or weeks are spent celebrating as the festivities take over entire cities. In Trinidad, after months of preparations in the neighborhoods, a large stadium is filled for several nights to witness fierce competitions that award prizes for the best masks, calypsos, and steel-drum bands. Carnivals have multiple roots, depending on the specific carnival.

what is the relationship between ritual and theatre

Because these diasporic carnivals are celebrated in the summer, detached from the church calendar, can they still be considered ritual performances? They do not signal the onset of Lent, but in every other quality they express the meanings of carnival.

In fact, the diasporic carnivals prove the non- or pre-Christian core of this kind of celebration: The Trinidad Carnival emerged in the nineteenth century from the celebrations of liberated African slaves embodying African ways and values and the carnival traditions of Catholic Europe as carried to the Caribbean by Spanish and French planters and slave owners.

Ironically, the Trinidad Carnival is a celebration of former slaves and former masters enjoying—and to some degree satirizing—each other's cultural heritages. As the Trinidad Carnival continues to develop in the twenty-first century, its cultural complexity multiplies to include—and rebroadcast to the world-at-large—musical and visual performance languages that are of an Afro-Caribbean, Euro-Caribbean, South Asian, and global nature.

Both the Valmiki and the Tulasidas poems are regarded as sacred. This chanting alternates during the performance with samvads, spoken dialogue by a cast of more than fifty actors, all Brahmin men.

All five of these boys are regarded as swarups, the actual living form of the gods they enact. The multitudes come for darshan of the swarups, a ritually beneficial view of the gods-on-earth.

At the mela, people enjoy the many snack stands, games, and a wide variety of items for sale. While making each occasion simultaneously traditional and unique. In other words, people attempt to follow the core script while adjusting peripheral aspects to their own tastes.

These rituals entail ritualized social practices that mobilize domains of material objects, visual images and written text. They reinforce and result in a series of attitudes and structural features, ingrained in our modern culture. A grander ideal, for instance, a struggle, and often explosive, dramatic gestures may be used to intend their symbolic significance. Public ritual has traditionally been the province of religion and this is the reason why ritual leans itself to performance art as rituals are usefully timed, scripted and specially staged for all involved.

Using ritual in the performance gives the art a symbolic meaning using rituals you are engaging the viewer with codes or triggers which they can connect with, but these rituals are being used as tactics to make a point, challenging or mimicking what occurs during a social ritual rather than continuing to express or reinforce a cultural meaning and tradition which is imbedded with society and has rules and indications for how society structures the lives of its people. Ritualized moments consist of people moving in accord with cultural scripts.

The study of rituals often reveals that these actions be directly linked to the social and cultural values that people implicitly and explicitly place on their country, ancestry, religion, and ability to perform and teach performance.

This is how social interactions can be viewed as performance. Ritual is a performance that is representative of the social interactions common to culture and society. This act may be sacral like ritual or profane like the social critique of Diogenes who searched for a reasonable man with a lantern in his hands in Athens in broad daylight.

Well then, performance art and performance in a narrow sense is ready to draw from ritual the most prominent example to this might be Joseph Beuys yet we should always be aware of the difference; while the form of ritual is essentially defined it must be produced the same way every timeperformance is never carried out as it was before.

The notion of process has made its way into art through action painting and happening intending to attack the traditional idea which defined the aim of art as the creation of a product.

Thus process is a method of art, a technique, which has become central with Expanded Performance. Process and ritual form two different aspects of Performance Art.