experience


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experience (theatre of) > ervaringstheater [English/Dutch]


Experience is knowledge that results from practice. Experience means participating, feeling, perceiving and sensing.  

The concept of ‘experience-theatre’ is a part of the theatre world. Experience theatres are especially designed to intensify the experience of the spectators. Marlieke Wilders, expert in experience-theatre, , states that the strengthening of the experience of the spectators is dependent on the core level of the aesthetic event on the one hand, and the space where this activity happens on the other hand. (Joostens, 110).  

Experience-theatre is directly connected to the theatre-frame. A performance is embedded in a certain frame. Since experience-theatre is strongly connected to the location of the performance, a certain frame arises that influences the aesthetic experience. However, experience-theatre doesn’t always occur in unusual locations.
A main element of experience-theatre is that the spectator doesn’t necessarily interpret the events as fiction, but as a realitythat is obviously staged.


The spectator feels as though he is a part of this reality. The performance then tries to redirect the thoughts of the spectator towards the world and everyday-life.
The spectator and the performance shouldn’t be seen anymore as separate elements.On the contrary, the spectator influences the performance and vice-versa.

In the Dutch performance Niemandsland directed by Dries Verhoeven, the main focus involves the experience of the spectator. The spectator is taken away on a trip by a non-dutchman to a suburb in a city. The spectator hears a Dutch voice through a headset, which reveals something about the possibilities of the identity of the person ahead of him. Slowly, the spectator draws conclusions about the person that guides him.
There isn’t some kind of final explanation or justified meaning for the spectator.
On the contrary, the spectator is forced to shape an image about the things that the voice tells and shows to him or her. The spectator is asked to approach everyday perceptions in a different way than they are used to. Those are, according to me, precisely the characteristics of experience-theatre. 


Author and translator: Marjolein Woltjer


Bibliography

Joostens, Kim Sarah. Kunst en Klant in de Nederlandse Podiumkunsten. 2012.

Verhoeven, Dries. Niemandsland. Utrecht, 2008.