Theatre as Visual Rhetoric

1624 WordsApr 18, 20137 Pages
Theatre as Visual Rhetoric In Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics,” he defines art as both “any human activity that doesn’t grow out of EITHER of our species two basic instincts: survival and reproduction” (164), and “the way we assert our identities as individuals and break out of the narrow roles nature cast us in” (166). Although McCloud was discussing graphic novels in his work, I think that these quotes and his argument apply to any type of visual rhetoric. As a former theatre minor at Marquette, I have had the opportunity to be privy to this argument in the form of theatre. Watching a play unfold onstage has an effect on the participating audience, largely due to the intricacies of each scene. While a good play must start out…show more content…
Effects can also be added to create feeling-directors can add foils over the lights used to create lights with special effects. These special effects can add to a plain set, such as leaves to a forest. A director can also choose to use colored lights, such as a blue or violet to create a moonlit effect or yellow for a sunlight effect. The last component of McCloud’s Process is surface. This is the final product; it is all of the components coming together to create the argument. Once all of the previous components are weaved together, the audience is persuaded to feel a certain way about the story and may take away certain feelings and elements of it. One example I can think of is in the play Billy Elliot, which tells the story of a young boy and his family during Margaret Thatcher’s reign in the UK. Billy’s dad is a coal miner, and he and the other miners go on strike and eventually lose. While the whole play leading up to this point is an emotional experience, this scene caused me to empathize with the coal miners: not because of the story itself, which I had been previously familiar with, but because of the way it was enacted onstage. The scene uses the components discussed to create a powerful and moving argument on behalf of the miners. While singing a song called “Once We Were Kings,” the miners all loud into their elevator to be lowered down into the earth to return to their jobs. Each miner wears a helmet with a light on the front and carries their pick
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