Why are we fascinated with the deceased? I think that is a relatively easy question to answer; we are human. Like theatre, we are ephemeral in nature. And, when one must die, and one accepts this fact, it follows that they might be curious about where they are to be going.
The most fundamental philosophy to understand about the Macabre Theatre is that by embracing and examining death in a physical way we can begin to understand more completely the meaning of life.
"The macabre dance included a procession of skeletons" (Merriam-Webster.com).
Why the Macabre?
When we think of macabre we might think first of horror. Indeed, I find that select horrific devices, often seen on the big screen, can have a profound impact on the stage. Their are several schools of thought in regards to the specific value and effect of willful scariness. One such effect is the increase of psychical stress on the body. This stress is part of what we think when we discuss the adrenaline rush that horror often cause. The body experiences stress, which in turn causes the body to expend energy. The sudden influx of energy into the body can have euphoric after-effects to which we are drawn.
But, Macabre is more than horror and death, it is about disturbation, or my invented word for the act of disturbing.
It is possible even to experience a sense of euphoria post-horrific experience; not only due to the proverbial adrenaline rush but also from our deep seeded thrill of survival. Fear Sociologist Margee Kerr finds that surviving a near-death episode caused our human ancestors to have more self-confidence in their ability to endure.Those of us that were better equipped to thrive were rewarded with more food and longer lives. It is a hypothesis of Macabre Theatre that an audience member, too, can feel a sense of confidence in having lasted through a fearful show, and furthermore that feeling of joy can be heightened by presenting the audience with a physical gift as they leave the venue.