Abstract

Empathy is often heralded as a vital part of the theatrical experience. Generally understood as the experience of feeling what another person is feeling, it is believed to help actors create more honest performances and to help audiences better understand viewpoints different from their own. These empathic experiences are complicated, however, when applied to stories about characters who commit unforgivably evil acts and may lead people to feel manipulated into justifying or sharing the immoral beliefs of these characters. This thesis argues that for theatre practitioners telling stories about morally reprehensible characters, compassion, involving feelings of care and concern for another person and a desire for their well-being, is a more useful goal. Using the research of Paul Bloom and Tania Singer as well as the theoretical writings of Michael Chekhov and others, the author details several techniques in the fields of playwriting, acting, and dramaturgy to help tailor theatrical works to elicit compassionate reactions instead of empathic ones. Through compassion, theatre practitioners will be better equipped to use theatre to affect positive social change in their communities.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2021

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Listengarten, Julia

Degree

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

College

College of Arts and Humanities

Department

Theatre

Degree Program

Theatre; Acting

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0008493; DP0024169

URL

https://purls.library.ucf.edu/go/DP0024169

Language

English

Release Date

5-15-2021

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Included in

Acting Commons

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