Empathy has provoked equal measures of excitement
and controversy in recent years. For some, empathy is crucial to understanding
others, helping us bridge social and cultural differences. For others, empathy
is nothing but a misguided assumption of access to the minds of others. In this book, Cummings argues that
empathy comes in many forms, some helpful to understanding others and some
detrimental. Tracing empathy's
genealogy through aesthetic theory, philosophy, psychology, and performance
theory, Cummings illustrates how theatre artists and scholars have often
overlooked the dynamic potential of empathy by focusing on its more
"monologic" forms, in which spectators either project their point of view onto
characters or passively identify with them. This book therefore explores how empathy is most effective when it
functions as a dialogue, along with how theatre and performance can utilise
the live, emergent exchange between bodies in space to encourage more dynamic,
dialogic encounters between performers and audience.
Lindsay B. Cummings is Assistant Professor of
Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut, USA.
Introduction.- Acknowledgements.- Chapter 1. Interruptions.- Chapter 2. Repetitions.- Chapter 3. Rehearsals.- Chapter 4. Empathic Economies.- Conclusion.- Bibliography.