in the actor-spectator relationship, both participants experience self-knowledge by “trading places” with another person.
for the actor, self-knowledge is gained by looking inward, as if into a mirror. the actor is trained to master her own mind and body so that she may produce the gestures and voice that convey another person. the better the actor is at playing someone else, the more in control she must be of her own mind and body.
for the spectator, self-knowledge is gained by looking out at someone else, as if through a window. the spectator hopes to be transported elsewhere: into another room, seeing the world through another person’s eyes.
this experience of being somewhere and someone else would be incomplete if it did not come to an end. the spectator expects to be returned feeling refreshed, renewed, rejuvenated. the more enjoyable the show, the more the spectator has come to recognize, albeit unconsciously, something about themselves.
the drama has to “hit home”. the joke has to be “so true” it’s funny. the elaborate plot has to, ultimately, “make sense”.
in a successful actor-spectator exchange, none of the participants are fully “there” – each is someone, somewhere else. the person most present has been conjured, as if by a seance.