Simultaneous Participation

The first time that we, as a class, read sections within The America Play book by Suzan Lori Parks, I had a very hard time as an observer and a listener comprehending everything that was being read during the parts where sections were read out loud at the same time. Last Friday, April 12th, I volunteered to read out loud the left-hand side of the page. I volunteered to do this mainly to see if I was able to have a better understanding of the significance of this strategy when I was actually on the other side of it. Unfortunately, it left me even more confused than before. I have been thinking about this a lot and I am still having a lot of trouble understanding the significance of reading a text simultaneously.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone talks over another person when they are in the middle of saying something. Even if you are not interested in what the other person is saying, what gives you the right to believe what you have to say is more important? I think this is part of the reason I had a hard time understanding the significance of reading simultaneously. I felt rude every time I started reading over another reader. I also felt as I was never able to fully comprehend what was being said within both parts. I found it close to impossible to not only listen but to also comprehend what was being read.

I have been trying my best to come to an understanding of the overall importance of reading the section, “Elements of Style” within The America Play in such a way. The best way for me to come to a conclusion on this is to reflect on this idea in terms of theater. After the in-class reading of Imperceptible Mutabilities on Monday, April 15th, we ended with a discussion on the use of an active audience rather than a passive audience. Emily Tsoi explores this idea in her blog post “The Theater- Going Experience,” and concluded her thoughts by stating, “audience members should be actively involved in what they are seeing.” I agree with Emily’s statement in such the way that theater becomes more exciting and real when the audience is participating simultaneously with the performers; even if it’s just through their own thoughts.

Some of the best theater performances are the ones that make you actively participate as an audience member. This results in the audience members having to simultaneously comprehend what is going on not only on stage but also in their own minds. I guess I have had trouble reading this way because it is something I have never done before. However, when considering it through the lens of active participation, just like in the theater, I am able to see the meaning more clearly.

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