By Jean Alter
Analyzes the fundamental duality of theatre (the play is occurring on a level, however the tale is occurring at elsewhere and time), exploring how the 2 elements either compete and supplement one another, and suggesting the social components that effect the whole strategy.
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Extra info for A sociosemiotic theory of theatre
And even its boldest changes are smoothly integrated with the traditional features that the avant-garde has been questioning. However stunning the staging, the most tenuous plots still tell a story, performances still use a text, and actors still speak words. One may claim that the vitality of theatre thus results from a parasitic ability to feed on change without risking a change, to accept transformations without losing identity, to undergo evolution but no metamorphosis. It is therefore possible that the future historian, instead of record- Page 5 ing a mutation of theatre in our times, will rather refer to a new renaissance of theatrical tradition, comparable to the many rebirths it had experienced before as a condition of its survival.
12 I: Reference and Performance 31 1. Origins: Referential Theories 32 Mimesis: theatre as imitation 32 Rituals and speech acts: theatre as action 34 Shamans and structures: theatre as revelation 37 2. Origins: Performant Theories 39 The game principle: theatre as necessity 39 The comedian's theatre: acting out 41 Social roles and rules: theatre as life 44 Aesthetic demands: theatre as art 47 3. Performant Function in Action 52 Sports: objective performances 52 Circus: magic performances 57 Theatre: intermittent performances 60 Interaction between referential and performant functions 61 Assessing theatrical performances: techniques and styles 64 Nontheatrical (cultural) performances 71 Semiotics of performances: deconstructing signs 79 Page viii II: A Grammar of Theatre Referentiality 91 1.
It reached its maturity in the nineteenth century, inspired by a growing acknowledgment of the role of group relations in social life. The advent of sociology as a science and Marxism as a philosophy of history led to the wide acceptance of a strong association between social problems and ideological postulates. The exact nature of that association, and its consequences for art, have been debated ever since. Among all the schemes, Marxism has long retained a privileged position, partly because of the scope and consistency of its system.