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On the Origins of Theater

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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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Conclusion: Source Performances in a Time of Globalization

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Conclusion:  Source Performances in a Time of Globalization

In 2014 on the relatively small island of Bali (5,780 km2) – with a surface area twice as small as the smallest Polish voivodeship (the Opole voivodeship) – more than four million people were registered as permanent residents. At the same time, in the huge land of Tibet (1.2 million km2) – four times greater than the whole of Poland – there lived barely three million people. The populations of both places had increased significantly since 2000. Every month on average 200,000 tourists visit Bali, and several of these buy homes on the island. Tibet is in the process of being settled by large numbers of Chinese, carried there every day in planes and trains.

Bali is part of Indonesia, the most populous Islamic state in the world, but on the island Hinduism is the dominant faith. In turn, in Tibet, bloodily conquered by communist China, Buddhism still endures. The Balinese and Tibetans, although similar in their spiritual fervor, react in quite different ways to processes of globalization. The island of Bali is open to the world and changes and transforms itself. Mass tourism makes money, supports traditional performances, and prompts the development of new ones, but can also bring catastrophe down on the island. Global hotel chains turn cultivated fields into concrete ghettos. Traditional Tibet, closed for the time being by its Chinese occupiers, closes in on itself and separates itself from the rest of...

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