Staging Consciousness argues that theater is a living invalidation of the Western dualism of mind and body, activating human consciousness through its embodiment of thought in performance. While consciousness theory has begun to find ways to bridge dualist gaps, Staging Consciousness suggests that theater has anticipated these advances, given the ways in which the physical theater promotes nonphysical thought, connecting the two realms in unique and ingenious ways.
William W. Demastes makes use of the writings of such varied theater practitioners as Artaud, Grotowski, Beckett, Kushner, Shepard, Spalding Gray, Peter Shaffer, and others, illuminating theater as proof that mind is an extension of body. The living stage incubates and materializes thought in a way that highlights the processes of daily existence outside the theater. Theater, then, has an ally in the new sciences, resulting in a clearer vision of how theater works as well as how theater can contribute to the understanding of reality's material essence.
This book offers a new way for theater practitioners to look at the unique value of the theater and an invitation for philosophers and scientists to search for new paradigms in theater, the oldest of art forms.