Publication Date

April 2019

Advisor(s)

Karl Scheibe

Major

Psychology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Memory is used in the creation of theater, and it is displayed in the plays performed on stage. This thesis aims to use the collaboration of theater and psychology to understand memory in everyday life better. The first approach is through a series of interviews with actors, directors, and designers in the Wesleyan community. The theater makers interviewed reported that knowing the meaning or emotional importance of what they were working on was essential for recall. The second approach for examining the relationship between memory and theater is through an in-depth analysis of a collection of shows which I found to portray different types of memory on stage. Memory was found to be a pervasive theme throughout theater. By comparing the portrayal of memory by playwrights with presumably no background in psychology with psychological research, they were found to demonstrate nuanced theories of memory defined by psychology. Based on these findings, it is clear that theater and psychology can work together to enhance the understanding of the experience of memory in everyday life. Additionally, the method of combining empirical research with theatrical analysis could function as a new methodology for studying everyday life.

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