My thesis looks at Street Theater as a spatial disposition, and as a specific historic definition, covering two cases of the timespan between 1968 and 1985. First, I study the nomadic troupe of the Living Theatre in their different expressions of street performance in Avignon (1968), Sao Paulo (1970), and Pittsburgh (1974 – 75) serving as a frame on the possibilities this art form presents in the interaction with a spontaneous audience, and other theoretical considerations that come to light through their praxis. Then, I expand on Chilean cases of street theater between 1980 and 1985, to analyze the possibilities of these performances in relation to specific political contexts: in this case, a response to a second stage of the masses’s response to the Pinochet dictatorship, which had begun in 1973.
Before studying these cases in depth, the introduction is a formal analysis of the temporal form that is Street Theater as it impacts urban environments and fits within a series of art forms of the 1960s and 70s. I propose that there is a conceptual proximity between Street Theater and Environmental Art, as both require in their creative processes to interact with boundless landscapes—more so taking in account Theater Historian Arnold Aronson’s definition of the “environmental theater.” From another perspective, seen as dynamic monuments, the bodies of the artists interact with the physical layout of public spaces re-ordering and possibly re-signifying the political symbolism embedded in buildings. Finally, as a spatial disposition in itself, street theater can be analyzed among typologies of forms of mass entertainment. At once drawing from directorial tactics from Brecht and Artaud and in line with public space representation radical experiments post-68, the use of the street in search for a popular subject becomes the basis for any dramaturgic decision within these plays. These tactics make the connection between place, public, and intervention uniquely inseparable: street theater should be studied then pertaining to Theater and Environmental Studies. An installed view of mass entertainment as ever conforming to the rules of a capitalist, dormant society can be questioned looking at the spatial reorganizations that the selected cases display.