On Ritual

Considering ritual as a means for creating immersive, interactive storytelling experiences.

Note: this blog post is structured differently because it is framed a guest lecture for a special topics class.

what we think of ritual as…

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How ritual manifests in our everyday…

Oftentimes when we think of ‘ritual’ we contextualize it in religious cult-like settings; however, rituals can also be found in the coffee we buy each morning before class, or in the routine trips we take to the movie theater. Examples of rituals that I practice:


  • Drinking a glass of water when I wake up

  • Feeding my cats in the morning

  • Listening to the PBS news hour


  • Reading a 3-card tarot spread

  • Writing a reflective blog post

Q. What are some rituals you practice? Daily, weekly, etc?

Q. Why do you practice them?

Ways to invoke ritual…

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“One definition of performance is: Ritualized behavior conditioned and/ or permeated by play.” p. 52

  • “Rituals are collective memories encoded into actions.”

  • “Ritual and play transform people, either permanently or temporarily.”

  • “The very act of entering the ‘sacred space’ has an impact on participants. In such spaces, special behavior is required.”

Ritual is repetitive, structured, and highly affective.


A game from Augusto Boals’ Games for Actors and Non-Actors.

A game from Augusto Boals’ Games for Actors and Non-Actors.



How can ritual be both radically ancient and radically modern?


an encounter with a contemporary divination mirror. shown at spring open studios, 2018.


On playtesting and refining a new work based off of my family’s immigration from Venezuela.

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An immersive, ambulatory theater experience using augmented reality (AR) for social impact storytelling.


How do we connect with the ‘otherworld’? How do we celebrate those who have passed?

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Considering the celebrations that have just passed of ancestral veneration, what are some traditions or rituals that we practice to commemorate the dead? What are the through-lines or common rituals for honoring the dead? Here’s a handy list-sickle for 25 Ways to Honor the Memory of a Loved One.

Zoe Sandovalritual, mfa, praxis