Theater and Rhetoric

Flipping though my class notes, looking for a topic for a blog post, I found old stage notes. I stage managed Next to Normal this past semester, and on random pages of my notebooks, I keep finding pictures of sets and lyrics and scribbled notes such as: MSR or DSL and arrows pointing every which way. These notes are complete gibberish to anyone who might see them except for the people who speak the stage direction language. Those who know the language can read these with no problem and understand the encrypted messages, such as where to move, and the emotion to feel. In the way that writing in a journal might be very personal and immediately bring back memories, so do these notes. This type of writing is very particular to those who understand it and through this writing it can portray a very clear and detailed message. Although these messy scribbles are nothing I wish to share with the world, they still do hold a lot of meaning.

These notes made me think that theater is a form of rhetoric. The purpose of theater is to share something with an audience, isn’t that what rhetoric is doing? Whether ideas, or laughter, or an emotion, the goal is to share a make an impact with a desired audience. Plays and rhetoric both have many different media to use to get a message across. Both can be written, spoken, watched,or preformed all in the hope to share meaning with others. The idea of both is to give an idea and have that interpreted by the audience. 


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