Esthetic reception of theatrical presentations by actors with histories of psychological distress

Aline Ernandes Milhomens Elizabeth Maria Freire de Araújo Lima About the authors

This study was developed among the audiences of theater groups in which the cast included actors with histories of psychological distress. Its aim was to investigate what is produced at the meeting point between art, madness and society, from studying the esthetic reception of these works. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of the audience at three theatrical shows with the intention of understand the relationship between the public and these productions, the meaning assigned to such relationships and their potential for cultural transformation surrounding madness. The interviews were analyzed through the collective subject discourse method. The analysis showed the potential that theater has for weaving a connective “thread” between madness and society, and indicated that the experience of the esthetic reception can make a major contribution towards the work of social and cultural transformation of the imaginary surrounding madness.

Mental health; Culture; Esthetics; Art


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