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Architectonics of Theatricality

Theatre Performance in a Semiotic Perspective

Ivaylo Alexandroff

The cultural discourse of theatrical performance defines the theatre sign interaction as an active semiosis. This, in turn, specifies the main objective of the study – the formulation of the basic parameters of this architectonics as a fundament of théâtralité. Since the time of Antiquity the theatre has always been discussing general aesthetic, philosophical, ethical and social issues in the context of a visual image of the specific objects of an intellectual discourse. The book takes a close look at this process of signification, formation of meanings, presentation and interpretation on stage: a theatre performance is a product of an intense sign environment and a major symbol of theatricality.
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Reflection of dominance - the sign as absence/presence

Extract

Considering the degree of complexity and multilayer nature of the sign components construction in the performance and, hence, the defining of more complex inventions and meanings for the different sign conventions, even if the particular conventional significance is susceptible by numerous spectators, each theatre artist tries to represent his message to an audience that is the sum of the individual sign systems of each and every spectator, and it is this particular individual communication that contains the key to a more global sense of the overall theatrical communication. Here we assume that spectators of lower theatrical competence (even though, in principle, they may have high intellectual potential) could not construct a complete sign corpus of the show in their minds and, to a great extent, they could not grasp what is seen in its completeness. Here we refer to, we could call it, a hierarchy of signs in the system of the performance that lay the convention in front of the viewers’ attention and these signs, by themselves, suggest an active interaction with the viewers’ competence at the level of sign reflection. The whole dynamics of the presence/absence of a sign in the process of sign distribution on stage is deeply dependent on the audience’s perception and the act of a dynamic reflection of, let’s call it, the semiotic consciousness of the viewer. The very awareness on the part of the viewer, of this hierarchy of signs, of their interchangeability in the context of the show, is the only possible...

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