Theatre/ Plays Used as A Way to Communicate Science
Written By Crystal Koh
Honestly, before writing this blog entry, it took me a really long time to get my head around the idea of using theatre or plays as a way to communicate science to the public. The first thought that came into my mind was “How could this even be possible? Wouldn’t that make the play a really boring one?”
Then, after reading the two readings, “Why does theatre plus science equal poor plays?” and ” Theatre Review: Human (and Mathematical) Equations“, which I recommend that everyone should just have a browse through of these two links to understand how I came to a conclusion that there could actually be a few techniques needed in order to make a theatre or play about science interesting.
Before reading further, watch this short video clip about the life of a scientist. It’s just a small part of the play where it explains a little about the discovery of the moon and star.
Though many think of theatre as more of an art and not a science. However, after watching the video and from reading the two readings above, there is evidence to say that science and art can be combined together to communicate science. This may seem rather complicated and tough to do, but actually this isn’t true.
Here is a list of important things to think about that may help to make this possible:
- Creativity- The writer of the play has to be creative. He has to have the ability to think outside the box, to blend art and science together in order to capture the attention of the audience.
- Emotions- The writer has to think of ways to set an emotion into each character, and these emotions needs to be felt by the audience. For example, would this play be a comedy, romance, mystery?
- Right choice of actors – This is important as if the actor does not have the talent to act his character out well, the main message of the play might be interpreted wrongly by the audience.
- Audience- The writer has to decide on the type of audience he would be aiming at. If it were a science play for schools or students, then the plot of the story would differ greatly from a play aimed at adults.
- Jargon- As the aim is to produce a science play; the writer would have to keep in mind of his audience. If it is aimed at school kids, the play would have to be as jargon free as possible, or if there were jargon, the writer would have to think of a way to explain this really well by acting it out. If the play was aimed at adults, the use of jargon could be possible, but there would still be a need to keep it as simple as possible.
- Technology- The use of technology, things writers need to think about, lighting, sound, visual effects. These would all aid in capturing the attention of the audience.
Rather than making the scientific stuff intelligible to the average layperson, perhaps writers should let it remain difficult, let the audience struggle a bit, allow certain principles to remain complicated and elegantly remote. And perhaps writers and directors can make use of the available theatrical technologies to render these theorems more vividly.