Theatre poetics: Highlights From Realism to Hyper-Naturalism and Beyond.



Key words and concepts that characterized theatre writing, theatre practice and viewing at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century  (the years of Realism and early Modernity)  and at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century (the years of Hyper-Naturalism and a New Modernity).



Late 19th and Early 20th century poetics
Late 20th and Early 21st century poetics
Work—just one (readerly), concrete: theatre as final product
Authorship
Author/Creator
Copyright law
Text/Intertext/Tissue of quotations (writerly)—a methodological tool: theatre as process (metatheatre)
Recreator/Bricoleur/Auteur
Death of the author (birth of the reader/viewer)
Theatre
Metatheatre (acknowledging the presence of the audience)
The play is the thing
Post-drama
Primary source/origins
Secondary source/lack of origins
Palimpsest of past-present-future traces
Pastiche: mixing and adapting of forms
Regulated irregularity
Heritage/Past
Heritage as reusable memory bank
The shock of the old through mixing, collage
Participation in the discursive space of a culture
Paradigmatic
Syntagmatic
Metaphor
Metonymy
Symptom/Result/Outcome
Desire
Metaphysics
Irony
Grounding
Foregrounding: giving special emphasis to make words, character etc stand out through interruption, demonstration etc
Intermediated signs
Signs as signs
Generic purity:  production
Literature-truth
Novelty
High infornation
Hybridity (blending genres): reproduction, crossbreed textual & performative
Literature-discourse
Pleasurable repetition-Redundancy
High-Low distinction
High-Low obliterated
Masterpieces:
Anti-pop
Anti-commercial
Anti-consumerist
Appropriation of low art forms (TV, movies, cartoons, pulp fiction, daily consumer products etc)
Pop: transient, expandable, low cost, mass produced, young, witty, gimmicky, glamorous
STRUCTURE



Hierarchy (controlled play of signifiers
Diaspora/Free play of signifiers
Unity
Order

Difference—arbitrary or intentional breaks in convention, expectations etc thru juxtaposition, conflation etc
Antiform (open).

Contained information-complete
Fixity/Finality
Placement
Stability
Disponbilite: openness or spontaneity in the act of creation
Displacement
Transformation/Fluidity

Separation of scenes that suggests some (logical) linkage
Beginning, middle, end
Sudden scene separation indicating arbitrary change of locale, time etc.
Each scene in dialogic relation to previous or next
Naturalism
Representation/Unmediated
Representation: context oriented
Closed

Hyper-naturalism (i.e. Sam Shepard, Mac Wellman, Body Art)
Presentation//performance/Mediated (i.e. Handke, Kaspar)
Performance: generating transformations.
 Art re-integrates what is “outside it”, an opening up of the field
Performance: circumstantial (depends on audience, situation, performer etc , here, now)

STORY

Mimesis (ergon)
Closed form and cosmos
Diegetic universe: framed reality

Anti-mimetic
Event (energia), an active force
Un-framed reality

Homogeneity
Heterogeneity/Hybridity
Focal center/convergence
Centripetal/hierarchical
One perspective
Kaleidoscope/diffusion
Pastiche
Centrifugal/diasporic
Multiperspectival/Polycentrism


Intense whole/ One narration
Promoting logical /causal progression of scenes
What do they mean?
Intense moments/many micro narrations
Episodic
Scattered information-incomplete (Where is reality?)
How do signs mean?
There and then  (abstract): absence of presence
Naturalism
Here and now (physical): present-ness of presence
Hypernaturalism
Contained (information)
Scattered (information): a flow
Fluid, illogical, randomly structured (like TV)
Infinity of the text
Dramatic action
Narrative action
Interactive structures
Autonomy of the stage signs
Purpose/Closure
Game/Playfulness/Non-telic/The eternal present/Movement of the world as play
Definite historical period/history as continuity
Conflated or contrasting periods
Tracking approach (dialogue determined by plot)
Theatre (and story) as final product
Turns approach (dialogue as free radical)—the play/performance becomes a discovery
Theatre (and story) as process
TIME

Linearity/coherence/cause and effect
Real: cutting across real boundaries
Time as a continuum
Time as given. Objective


Nonlinearity/incoherence
justxaposition
Meaning occurs at the interface/junction between beats
Loosely related parts
Frequent shifts (of place, time etc): Influence of television
Time as discontinuous
Time as relative. Subjective (thus: slow motion, speedy, repetitive etc)
Acceleration, simultaneity, speed, collage (like video art)
CHARACTER

Characters in accordance to the whole
Characters disobedient to the whole
Autonomous character / Integral
Subjectivity
Split character/Bifurcated
Loss of subjectivity
Constant transformations
Only fragments, parts are left
Character: Psychological and sentimental identification (interiority): based on need, desire, goals etc.
Integral traits: one character
Exterior, gestural, kinetic projection (dexterity): no psychologisms
Contradictory traits
Character specific (each speaks within a certain range): causal relationship between character’s class, gender etc and level of speech

Character producer of language
Character no longer identifiable
Character clash, juxtaposition from opposing historical eras, genres, styles etc
Language frames character: we change our speech depending on situation
Wittgenstein: language the cause of character and not the result
Character internal motivation (Eucledean)
Unmediated entity

Device of language as motivation  --language shifts; more playfulness, imaginative, inventive
Interfaces between human beings and the machine. Ghosts of the self, simulations
Mask  covers self, shows transformation, lack of  subjectivity

ACTOR

Actor becomes character
Agent of the author (or director)
Actor performs character
Actor as subject and object of the creative process
Conspicuous appearance
One character for every actor
Multiple characters for every actor
Multiple identities
Bodily fragments highlighted, objectified
Body is cut up
The voice as an autonomous element—use of microphones for alienation effects: dissemination of the self
Actor behind character (matrixed): through line, arc, fleshing out, conflict
Actor in front of character (dematrixed)
Mask (and technology) to elucidate character
Interfaces between human beings and the machine.
 Ghosts of the self, simulations
Mask  covers self, shows transformation, lack of  subjectivity

Transformation of the other  (character)
Transformation of the self (actor)
Body as site of discursive struggles (i.e. feminism)
One narrator privileged
Multiple narrators with no preference (also related to politics of identity, gender, sex)
Protagonist-driven
No central character necessary; may be ensemble
The actor as a subjected subject (subtextual)
Surface textuality
The body as the carrier of (an)other story  (serving signification)
 The body as the story (a sign of itself): center of attention, auto sufficient.
 Body absolutized
LANGUAGE

Language with logical coherence
Language with no coherence. Dissected
Fragments of speech
Innovative
Alienation of word and meaning—this leads to visual, musical, improvisational, gestural solutions (re-instating theatre as ritual)
Dialogue based on conflict
Conflict-driven scene (opposite viewpoints)
Circumstance-driven scene
Belief-driven scene
Dialogue promotes conflict indirectly
Language (word) as part of system
Language (word) as free radical.
Protean
Freewheeling conflation
Language as the tool of drama
Language generates stories
Language as material of drama /event
Language generates images
Language as meaning
Language as sign (or sound)/object
Conventional syntax
Unconvetional syntax
Landscape
Lang-scapes
The words have history
The words are historicized
Gesture depends on language
Autonomous gesture
Language reflects culture
Language is a counterpoint to culture
Monologic play: character predetermined by psychological profile
Dialogic—character shaped/scalped by language
Character specific dialogue
Language related to job, class, age etc
Multivocality (comining multiple speech strategies)
Playful grafting
The meaning of things
The materiality of things
The truth-like look of representation 
The performance of presence 
The “other” world
This world
Pain as representation
The pain of representation
Gesture preceds thought
Gesture precedes language
Gesture precedes knowledge
Theatre of myth
Theatre of the social/real
AUDIENCE

Audience as (passive) spectators
Readers
Audience as witness  (acknowledged as active presences)
(Mis)readers
Reception (hot), total, final: feel at home
Synoptic: gives view of the whole
Audience feeling at home
Reception (cool) eclectic, open: estranged
Synoptic: partial, immediate
Audience not feeling at home
The politics of myth/representation
What does it mean?)
The politics of reception: the play is negotiated in the moment
Transformative politics of perception
SELF

Romantics: genius, individuality
Unitary
Identity
Cogito-logocentric subject
Human body is in space

Construct
Sign
Non unitary
Open to change, transformation, redistribution
Decentered self
Partial  identities
Inscribed in language
Ecstatic subject
Re-invents subjectivity through fragments and polyvocality
Human body is of space (symptom of sensory, somatic and other stimuli)—mainly in physical theatre
SPACE:

Stage location for the representation of preexisting meanings, texts
Authentic
Unmediated
Uncontaminated
Real

Stage: towards the creation of meaning
Inauthentic
Mediatized/technology/reproduction
What’s real?
Hyperreal (in which the real is lost)
Can we separate reality and media?
Image and reality?
In this space the origins of voice, thought, authenticity impossible
Ghosts, simulations


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