By Jean Alter
Analyzes the fundamental duality of theatre (the play is going on on a level, however the tale is occurring at elsewhere and time), exploring how the 2 facets either compete and supplement one another, and suggesting the social components that impression the entire method.
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Extra info for A sociosemiotic theory of theatre
Perhaps the entire notion of two separate worlds embodied in two separate spaces needs to be revised. Perhaps spatial and symbolic Page 11 barriers must both be respected as a rule and transgressed for specific reasons. A closer examination of concrete theatrical practice could help to clarify that point. At this time, it suffices to note that an autonomous performance area, despite derogations, still operates as a traditional theatrical space. In other terms, that theatrical practice still postulates the presence of some "stage," that is, a distinct space reserved for the staging of a text.
A sociocriticism focusing on this type of tension will not disregard social problems represented in fiction, but it will posit that they could be misrepresented, concealing different problems in the historical reality. In that sense, for example, the conflict between bourgeoisie and nobility in Molière plays might be shown to disguise a more general conflict between the fixed values of seventeenth-century society and its economic, social, and political evolution. One may even hypothesize that the social group with which Molière unconsciously identifies is neither bourgeoisie nor nobility but a still nameless conglomerate of people falling somewhere between the normative categories of status: some bourgeois living like nobles, some nobles living like bourgeois, intellectuals and artists, and all sorts of marginal individuals.
In the last analysis, a universal theatrical activity that accounts for all public events that could be designed as theatre opens on a tautology: any example will demonstrate a theory that is tailored to accept any possible example. The vast horizons of speculation do not offer precise notions; they lead to teleological guesswork. It is much sounder and safer to stay with given data, that is, a well-established theatre corpus, and to propose a theory that derives from both old and new traditions of that corpus.
A sociosemiotic theory of theatre by Jean Alter