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On the Origins of Theater


Mirosław Kocur

This book presents an interdisciplinary investigation into the emergence of the actor and theater. Scholarship helps us to realize how we have evolved to who we are today and to understand the transformative power of performance. The author proposes to boost and advance theater studies by reviewing new research in anthropology, archaeology, paleoanthropology, classics, ethnography, physics, cognitive science, neuroscience, theater anthropology and performance studies. Referring to his fieldwork in Bali and Tibet, and to his professional experience in theater, the author explains the role of bipedality, toolmaking and trance in the evolution of the performer, examines the performativity of space and writing, and argues that ancient culture emerged from dance.
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Chapter 3: On the Origins of Theater Structures


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Chapter 3:  On the Origins of Theater Structures

On May 4, 2011, Stanford University announced in its internet publication the Stanford Report the successful conclusion of a long-term project to verify the correctness of two fundamental hypotheses formulated by Albert Einstein fifty-two years previously. The project entitled Gravity Probe B (, which the Californian university conducted in close co-operation with NASA, was one of the longest-lasting research undertakings in the history of contemporary science. Francis Everitt, a physicist from Stanford who was in charge of the work of the project, devoted forty years of his life to verifying Einstein’s intuition. It appeared that the visionary genius was right. Gravity is geometry. It is the curvature of space-time that causes gravity.

Research into the curved nature of space-time reveals the complexity of the contemporary concept of “space.” The exact sciences show that space is involved in “producing” one of the fundamental forces that give order to the universe. Thus it affects people in a substantial way.

At the latest, however, from 1974, scholars in the humanities have been writing of the “production of space” by human beings. This is thanks to the celebrated and still read book La production de l’espace, written by the French Marxist Henri Lefebvre (2001). Post-modern theoreticians, such as Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler, replace the verb “produce” with the verb “perform.”

I propose that we recognize “performative space” both as space “producing” performances...

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