Real-Ish: Audiences, Feeling, and the Production of Realness in Contemporary Performance


SKU: 9780228016403
Author: Jacobson, Kelsey
Publication Date: 02/15/2023
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
Binding: Hardcover
Media: Book
This item is on backorder and will take an additional 5-7 business days for processing.


In the “post-truth” era, the question of how people perceive things to be real, even when they are not based in fact, preoccupies us. Lessons learned in the theatre – about how emotion and affect produce an experience of realness – are more relevant than ever. Real-ish draws on extensive interviews with audience members about their perceptions of realness in documentary, participatory, historical, and immersive performances. In studying these forms that make up the theatre of the real, Kelsey Jacobson considers how theatrical experiences of realness not only exist as a product of their real-world source material but can also unfurl as real products in their own right. Using the concept of real-ish-ness – which captures the complex feeling that is generated by engaging with elements of reality – the book examines how audiences experience the apparently real within the time and space of a performance, and how it is closely tied to the immediacy and intimacy experienced in relation to others. When feeling – rather than fact -becomes a way of knowing truths about the world, understanding the cultivation and circulation of such feelings of realness is paramount. In exploring this process, Real-ish centres audience voices and, perhaps most importantly, audience feelings during performance.