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Therapeutic Elements of Theater


Every theater history class I have ever taken has started with ancient Greek classicism and Aristotle’s musings on Tragedy. While Aristotle makes a solid case for the purpose of Tragedy and how best to invoke catharsis in the theater, I would like to push his theories a step further; if theater can be cathartic to its audience, can it be therapeutic?

In this thesis, I will be looking at the University of California Santa Cruz’s 2018 production of The Children’s Hour through both an Aristotelian and a psychodramatic lens in order to explore if and how a piece of canonical, American theater might be therapeutic to its audience, eventually creating an elemental list of therapeutic theater.

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