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What are performance styles associated with expressionism?

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wanderista | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted November 2, 2013 at 2:01 AM via web

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What are performance styles associated with expressionism?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 2, 2013 at 11:11 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the most distinct performance styles associated with Expressionism is its conceptual nature.  For example, characters in the Expressionist style could be simply called "Father" or "Woman."  The Expressionist style was not driven through conventional form.  If anything, it sought to repudiate the traditional form into something new, consistent with the themes of Expressionism.  For the Expressionist dramatist, a statement was being made, some new aspect of being was revealed.  Accordingly, attaching temporal names or titles is secondary to emphasizing the ability to envision something new or something conceptual about the world and the human's place in it.  In this light, characters might be associated with simple distinctions as opposed to a specific proper noun.

The individual and their place in the world is of central importance to the Expressionist performance style.  A character reciting a monologue or breaking the wall to communicate directly with the audience could be seen as part of this style.  The Expressionist seeks to link the audience to what is happening on stage, primarily because of its universal appeal.  The use of the monologue, seeking to speak to the audience is a part of this. The monologue allows the character on stage to fully articulate both what they are experiencing, as well as what the modern individual endures.  The stylistic element of the monologue allows this to happen.

The desire to construct something new also enabled performance style to mix genres.  Characters were not bound by traditional notions, and Expressionist playwrights understood this.  They were able to infuse music, poetry, and other elements into drama.  This vision of "total art" emphasizes the "newness" of Expressionist. It also represents how there is a conscious desire to break away from what is and form a new realm of what can be in terms of a rebirth or new awakening.  For the Expressionist, this thematic element is of the utmost importance and the style of Expressionist becomes a vehicle in which this can be recognized.

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