“The Theatrical Double Reflexivity Complex” explores the possibility of the spectator’s presence and influence in altering the style of a theatrical production during a performance. The author focuses on African-American audiences in American theatre as the primary subject of this phenomenon and claims that by incorporating their own reality into the world of the play, the spectators can force a play to become metatheatrical regardless of the actors’ or director’s initial intent. Beginning with the initial assumption of what we, as theatre artists, expect from our audience, this article explores the results of what occurs when an audience does not conform to the specific style set forth. In doing so, this article examines the engagement of the spectator as character and instigator by providing a new theory to the world of metatheatrical theory – the possibility of the Theatrical Double Reflexivity Complex.

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Publication Title

Studia Dramatica

Organisational Unit

School of Art, Design and Architecture