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East Coast Artists Benefit: Rasaboxes Demonstration (2004) Photo/Foto: HIDVL
  • Title: East Coast Artists Benefit: Rasaboxes Demonstration
  • Alternate Title: RasaBoxes
  • Duration: 01:08:38
  • Language: English
  • Date: Dec 2004
  • Location: New York University
  • Performers: Richard Schechner, Martin Blazer, Tanya Calamoneri, Paula Murray Cole, speakers ; Paula Murray Cole, demonstration facilitat ; Michele Minnick, Rachel Bowditch, Paula Murray Cole, Marissa Copeland, Christopher Logan Healy, demonstration artists.
  • Type: theatre demonstration

East Coast Artists Benefit: Rasaboxes Demonstration (2004)

The video tape begins with people arriving and mingling during a reception held in the Dean's Conference room at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Thirty to 50 people gather and talk in small groups while the camera moves among them, recording parts of their conversations. Michele Minnick, a member of the ECA, is host for the event. Soon, people find chairs arranged around a large rectangular grid of boxes made of tape on the floor: the rasaboxes. Richard Schechner announces the beginning of the event and suggests that the audience consider the work of ECA as a "rethinking the arts." He discusses the rasaboxes work as a way for performers to express emotions immediately, without forethought or emotional recall -- or any other standard actors' exercises. Paula Murray Cole explains the grid on the floor -- the outline of the nine rasas. Rasaboxes offer a unique approach to enacting the eight basic emotions as specified in the Sanskrit theater manual, Bharata's "Natyasastra." The ninth, the center box, is left blank because it represents "shanta," the ultimate emotionless state of total bliss. Rasaboxes combines the Indian concept with Antonin Artaud's call for the actor to be "an athlete of the emotions." The eight, or nine, rasas of Sanskrit/Indian performance theory are: adbhuta (surprise, wonder), sringara (love, eros), bhayanaka (fear, horror), bibhatsa (disgust, revulsion), vira (courage, the heroic), hasya (laughter, the comic), karuna (sadness, compassion), raudra (rage, destruction), and santa (peace, bliss). Workshop participants move within the boxes, jumping from one emotional state to the other and at times engaging interactively. Then ECA members demonstrate the rasaboxes technique. Several speakers, including Richard Schechner describe the RasaBoxes technique and its usefulness in a variety of contexts.