Tablaeus in Theatre

Translated from French, , tableaux vivant means ‘living pictures.’ A French phrase, used to mean a silent and motionless group of people posed to portray a famous scene orevent. In theatre tablaeus can be used to explore a particular moment in a story or drama, or to replicate a photograph or artwork for deeper analysis.

Tableaux Vivant: History and Practice

In a tableau, participants make still images with their bodies to represent a scene. A tableau can be used to quickly establish a scene that involves a large number of characters. Because there is no movement, a tableau is easier to manage than a whole-group improvisation – yet can easily lead into extended tasks.

Tableaus in theatre

The best way to begin with tableau experimentation is an improvisation exercises.

Using improvisation is a good way to ease students into the use of tableaux, also encouraging their thinking of characterisation and narrative. When using improvisation, it is important to select stimuli with enough detail and depth to encourage thinking. e.g. when doing this exercise we were asked to create tablaeus showing a haunted house, a market and many more. The haunted house allowed us to visualise a dark house with a rugged structure that may have been broken down, or abandoned.


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