Gestalt Psychology as Applied to Interpreters Theatre

Date of Graduation

Spring 1972


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Holt Spicer


The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relevant areas of the Gestalt Psychology that can be utilized within the theatre of the interpreter and to apply various methods of Gestalt Psychology to interpreters theatre. The assumption implied is that through a knowledge of these concepts, they be used not only in therory, but in practice, so that the experimentation of Gestalt in interpreters theatre will be a continuous process and not an end in itself. Through a knowledge of sensory reinforcement the reader can digest and interpret to the audience the meaning of literature as intended by the author. The use of images, the interdependence of the senses, the relation of one sense to the total pattern projected, and the reinforcement of one sense to another are the tools of the interpreter as he projects a configuration of the senses to an audience. Patterns of suggestion communicated to the audience are made through the reader's perception of the material. His sensual, intellectual, and emotional response to the literature should be interpreted in such a way that the audience cannot sit back and be entertained, but must enter into this art form for it to be complete. The rhythm of literature comes alive when the psychology of gesture is understood and applied. Overt, covert, non-verbal and presymbolic gestures are the tools available to the interpreters. The configuration of gesture is paramount in interpretation if the audience is to experience literature. A worthwhile text is elevated through the use of the imagination of audience, director, and interpreter when the principles of movement and motion are practiced. No interpretation has to be static or limited to a particular area if the literature is extended into the mind of the audience. To make the theatre of the interpreter as exciting and stimulating as possible, one should lean upon the theories of Gestalt.

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© Judith Ann Ten Eyck