What is complex seeing? Who presented the idea of complex seeing?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think Bertolt Brecht first proposed the idea of complex seeing. As part of his revolution of the way theatre is performed, which he called Epic Theatre, one of his main goals was to keep the audience aware that they were watching a play. Because of his own political and philosophical views about the world, he wanted to avoid the kind of escapism that people enjoy when going to a play. Instead, he wanted to keep reminding them they were watching a play to provoke thought: thought about what they were watching and even their role in the audience-stage dynamic. Complex seeing is a part of all this. One particular example is when the audience sees a character as itself and its other, or another personal. This can result from a dual character or just self-reflexivity - which is when a character breaks the fourth wall by addressing the audience. The audience must then determine whether the character is "in character" or not.

In the play The Good Person of Szechwan,the audience is confronted with a character who is both female and male. (Shen Teh and Shui Tah).

Thus, the interlude calls attention to our own dialectical activity in the epic theater, the act of complex seeing, which demands that we perceive things as they are and, at the same time, as other than they are. (Solomon, Alisa).