Is Cosplay a Form of Theatre? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

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COMICON SEASON IS UPON US!! Tens of thousands of fans will fill convention centers, stand in endless lines, and many will even dress up as their favorite fictional characters (aka Cosplay). Why, you might ask, do people cosplay? Well, they cosplay to celebrate a character, to make an awesome costume, to BE awesome, and for some, maybe even to BECOME the character. This embodiment of a character is essentially a performance, so does that make cosplay theater?! Can theater exist without directors, scripts, or even a stage??!! Watch the episode and find out!

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“Europe” by Roglok (
“Level 5” by Room for the Homeless (
“Bouncy Castle” by Roglok (
“:P” by Roglok (
“Squarehead” by Roglok (
“Number Cruncher” by Roglok (
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“Tarty Prash” by Roglok (
“Carry on Carillon” by Roglok (
“Uptown Tennis Club” by Roglok (
“Squarehead” by Roglok (
“Dream Of Autumn” by Night Shift Master

“Insert Toy For Coin” by Eatme (
“Dizor” by Outsider

“Lets go back to the rock” by Outsider

“Something like this” by Outsider


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  1. Go with the Dune option and bury nukes under every capital as a way to enforce the rules of the game. If a country continues after it's players are eliminated that country goes boom. Of course the forces without countries or the countries who just don't care will get a big advantage or just wouldn't play the game.

  2. As someone who does theater and is a giant fangirl, I would say that I do consider cosplay a form of theater. Particularly when one is not only dressing as, but also acting like, their chosen character. You are not only emulating, but embodying and performing that character, for a sort of audience. There may not be a script, but improv doesn't have scripts either, and no one would argue that improv isn't a form of theater. I would say that cosplay walks a line somewhere between guerrilla theater and improv.

  3. sometimes when watching a play, you stop seeing actors and start seeing chareters. i find the notion of "cosplay is theater" very tickling. i think it's becuse that means the setting is a con. so now im just picturing the acutal wolverine and trainer red farting around a con buying manga and posing for photos.
    Red: "Im gonna catch all the volumes!"
    Logan: "be sure to get my good side, bub"

  4. It can be theater, but most of the time it is not. Like 99% of all cosplayers i ever met only wore it as a costume, and almost no one acted like the character. It may be a cultural thing though, since i am in germany

  5. I am currently working on a cosplay while watching every single episode of idea channel, I appreciate this episode so much on a personal level. This is the first episode I stopped sewing to watch 😛 
    I honestly agree that cosplay can be a form of theater, although I personally am a terrible actor and barely even try and mimic the personality of the character I am cosplaying, I would deffinitly say what costume I am wearing does effect how I act and does make me feel as though I am representing that character through wearing the costume.
    I feel cosplay does something different for everybody, for me personally I do it to meet other people that are interested in the same thing I am, and also majorly to get attention. I also see it as a challenge to make something accurately and a really fufulling (albeit expensive) hobby all around. 

  6. almost completely unrelated, but i see that sword & sworcery ep cover in the background! i love that game (and ep!) and have in fact cosplayed from it….

  7. well my mind is blown once again. thanks idea channel. I expect you guys to clean it off my walls. not you zombies. no mind chunks for you, you just got clean.

  8. There is this game that if you play it, you simply love it or hate it. It is EVE Online. In that game only thing that the creators made, was world, items and couple of rules like don't hack. Rest is made completely by players. If you buy a spaceship in game with 80% chance player made it. The whole market system is based almost completely on players ( It will take like a book to explain all of it ). There is laws on game but you don't have to respect them. If you don't respect it police will come after you and you are a criminal. Almost everything in EVE is made by players and that is awesome. I think that Cosplay is theatre with same idea. In Cosplay, show is not made by actors but by those who have watched the original movie or read the book aka audience. When EVE is made almost completely by players the Cosplay is made almost completely by audience. So yes Cosplay is theatre, it is just different kind of theatre and becouse it is different some love it, another hates It. Just like EVE.

  9. As a cosplayer i more or less feel Cosplay is a form of expression. And it doesn't mater if you change the race of a character to fit the same race you are. you don't have much control over that. If you feel you can do that character justice then do it!
    As a Actor i also say Cosplay is a form of Theatre, Its not on a stage per-se but I've been in plays on a stage and I've been in skits and panels at cons. The panels i was on where not organized at all, besides the hour before hand when we all met in a room and actually met each other for the first time face to face. But if you go back to Shakespearean times  and early theatre They didnt actually have stages but they did have theaters. the seats where raised as on a stage you are raised.
    I understand where you're coming from that its not always 'Theatre' and that's true but there are circumstances that it classify s as theatre  

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