There are many opinions about what drama/theatre games are or what they should be. The different definitions of what drama games are and what they include are as many as the fields theatre games are applied to (theatre pedagogy/drama in education, training actors for the development of improvisational theatre, drama therapy). However, all definitions agree that drama games are all about…games. Thus, their primary objective is to provide group participants with recreation. The games become theatrical from the moment that a group participant, who is within a defined space and time, enjoys expressing themselves and communicates with the others through verbal and/or non-verbal language.
The etymology of the word “theatre” derives from the Ancient Greek verb θεάομαι – θεώμαι (theáomai, “to see”, “to watch”, “to observe”) and the word “drama” from the Ancient Greek verb δράω – δρω (dráo, “to do”, “to act”). Hence, the term “theatre/drama games” is directly related to the meaning of observing an action.
As Lakis Kouretzis analyzes, “theatre games are a means of activation, sensitization, release of imagination, and cultivation of psychomotor expression of group participants.” Drama games are not a random discovery of a new method. This kind of experiential method is a way of communication, self-expression, and socialization; a way of deepening and strengthening human relationships as well as self-awareness of group participants within which they act.
Theatre games borrow many elements and techniques from theatre, such as role-playing, improvisation, pantomime, and dramatization, but unlike theatre, they don’t aim in theatrical performance. It’s not about the theatrical performance itself but the whole creative process which aims to cultivate the different aspects of oneself. Therefore, drama games are a creative procedure, one that offers group participants instant fulfillment, satisfaction and gratification. Sometimes, however, even this main difference can be surpassed and theatrical performances can amanate from theatre games .
Nowadays, drama games are included in the spectrum of theatre pedagogy/drama in education. The contemporary education should include the experiential and interdisciplinary method to knowledge, development of self-awareness and self-perception, autonomy, critical and creative thinking and learning of social and cultural values, so that children in their early life will be capable of acquiring all those necessary skills in order to be able to function properly in society. Theatre games are a significant tool for children’s self-expression, creativity, recreation and cooperation.
Although drama games initially began to address children, in our days this “myth” has been busted. It is known that they are a multi-perspective tool without restriction on age or profession (theatre pedagogy/drama in education, training actors for the development of improvisational theatre, drama therapy). Generally, there are no criteria or conditions for the participation of a person in theatre games. As it is already mentioned, the drama games are not about the “theatrical performance” which is based on the typical completion of a play and good acting. That is why they are not only addressed to “charismatic actors”. It is a process through which somebody seeks to experience the stimulus and express his/her authenticity and spontaneity.
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