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Belief and Christmas: Performing Belief and the Theory and Practice of Christmas Performance

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Date Issued:
2013
Abstract/Description:
In the United States, Christmastime has become a time of tension between the holy ideals of family togetherness, childhood innocence, and goodwill towards men and commercial idolatry. Christ and Santa Claus are pitted against each other in the war on Christmas between religion and secularism instead of feasting together on ham and figgy pudding in the traditional fashion. While many would agree that the everyday realities of the Christmas season do not often live up to the ideals imposed upon the holiday, few are able to tell why this is so or even trace the roots of their discontent.In an exploration of the unique anomaly of the hierosecular American Christmas, I propose that the unique systems of Christmas belief extend beyond the usual boundaries of sacred and secular to create a complex web of different beliefs that are performed together to create the unique feeling of Christmas. From a performance theory perspective, I use performance as both traditionally theatrical and as a paradigm for understanding and expressing belief in an effort to explore the essential but elusively defined cultural signifiers of the American Christmas.Through a series of case studies focusing on various traditions of Christmas performance, I apply the performance theories of Diana Taylor, Patrice Pavis, Victor Turner and others to such Christmas staples as Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. In doing so, I propose different points for viewing Christmas and introducing new points of inquiry for questioning the meaning of Christmas, belief, and performance.
Title: Belief and Christmas: Performing Belief and the Theory and Practice of Christmas Performance.
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Name(s): Nicely, Brenna, Author
Listengarten, Julia, Committee Chair
Seay, Donald, Committee Member
Larson, Peter, Committee Member
Wood, Mary, Committee Member
, Committee Member
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2013
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: In the United States, Christmastime has become a time of tension between the holy ideals of family togetherness, childhood innocence, and goodwill towards men and commercial idolatry. Christ and Santa Claus are pitted against each other in the war on Christmas between religion and secularism instead of feasting together on ham and figgy pudding in the traditional fashion. While many would agree that the everyday realities of the Christmas season do not often live up to the ideals imposed upon the holiday, few are able to tell why this is so or even trace the roots of their discontent.In an exploration of the unique anomaly of the hierosecular American Christmas, I propose that the unique systems of Christmas belief extend beyond the usual boundaries of sacred and secular to create a complex web of different beliefs that are performed together to create the unique feeling of Christmas. From a performance theory perspective, I use performance as both traditionally theatrical and as a paradigm for understanding and expressing belief in an effort to explore the essential but elusively defined cultural signifiers of the American Christmas.Through a series of case studies focusing on various traditions of Christmas performance, I apply the performance theories of Diana Taylor, Patrice Pavis, Victor Turner and others to such Christmas staples as Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. In doing so, I propose different points for viewing Christmas and introducing new points of inquiry for questioning the meaning of Christmas, belief, and performance.
Identifier: CFE0004731 (IID), ucf:49823 (fedora)
Note(s): 2013-05-01
M.A.
Arts and Humanities, Theatre
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): christmas -- performance -- Patrice Pavis -- Diana Taylor -- Victor Turner -- performance studies -- belief -- Dickens -- Nutcracker -- A Christmas Carol
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0004731
Restrictions on Access: campus 2014-05-15
Host Institution: UCF

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