NAME: The Salon
IDEAL TEAM SIZE: 4-8
HISTORY: A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. It is an Italian invention of the 16th century and is heavily associated with the French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries. Salons were usually held by prominent, beautiful and educated society women who moderated debate and discussion, consciously following Horace’s philosophy on the aims of poetry, “aut delectare aut prodesse est,” or “to entertain and educate.” Many modern historians consider the salon an integral part of the Age of Enlightenment.1
THE BREAKDOWN: The stage is set with comfortable couches or chairs in a semi-circle to mimic a comfortable drawing room or coffee shop. A host receives guests as they arrive and all are seated and begin discussion on a topic chosen by the host. As debate comes into full swing, characters will rise from their seats and have scenes to highlight their opinions or points.
NOTES: This format is one that can enjoy a high amount of adaptability depending on the team’s sensibilities. The participants of the salon can be specific characters or the team can decide to be themselves when they’re sitting. The topics can be chosen by the audience if desired, either through suggestion or through cards filled out when they enter the space. Top marks go to the team that performs this show in a corner of a real coffee shop.