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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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Linguistic and paralinguistic interaction: symbolic transmission, representation, and active convention


From whatever position we may consider the interactive communication of signs on stage, it unconditionally boils down to an active interaction in three aspects of representation: verbal–verbal, non-verbal–non-verbal, verbal–non-verbal, and vice versa, depending on the active convention in a given sign system at a particular moment of the performance. Here we could specify the principle of interaction of theatre signs such as the transmission of images (possibly integrating here the concept of image or the semiotic icon) and words (which, themselves, are also images, icons) together with all the consequences of this interactivity. The only exception that we could point out in this case is music that can actually be seen as an independent semiotic principle of theatrical convention, but in the given situation, on the one hand, it is not an object of our study (in particular) and, on the other, it is an optional semiotic attribute to a theatrical performance. It is permissible (especially in modern theatrical situation) that music be completely excluded from the general stage context of the performance and this will not damage the representative volume, but it is absurd to think that a theatrical show may exist without at least one of the two representative principles: verbal or non-verbal. All signs in the system of theatre play exist in a common field of communication, each interacting with all others. On the stage it is absolutely impossible for a sign to exist for itself, as a separate unit, and in this sense,...

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