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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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The performance as a theatrical text - morphology of stage signification


Theatre semiotics (from Bogatyrev, Veltrusky, Mukarzovsky, Zich to State and Elam, from Pavis and Quinn to Fischer-Lichte, from De Marinis, Ruffini and De Toro to Alter, Ubersfeld and Aston/Savona) has long served a radical effort to generate the idea of the performance as a theatrical text, which strongly appears to be an innovative step forward in the debate on models of stage signification. It could be assumed that any expression from stage to audience overlaps with a theatrical sign equivalent, which is the direct result of a multivalence of sign systems on stage precisely as a complex sign semiosis: from visual to verbal, from the iconic to the symbolic, from the natural to the conventional (Veltruský 197696, De Marinis 1980, 198297, Pavis 198298, Alter 199099, Fischer-Lichte 1992100, De Toro 1995101, Quinn 1995102, Ubersfeld 1999103, Elam 2002104). The signification (Veltruský 1976)105 defines the dramatic figure as an aesthetic object (stage figure) on ← 89 | 90 →the stage (see: Mukařovský 1978)106 and, in this context, especially Prague structuralists regarded the performance as a complex expressive platform. Otakar Zich in Aesthetics of the Art of Drama [1931, 1986]107 and Jan Mukařovský in An Attempt at a Structural Analysis of a Dramatic Figure [1978]108 based some of their reasoning precisely on the semiotic nature of theatrical representation and communication. As Elam said in his study The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama (2002):

“In 1930s the Prague School theatre theories radically changed the prospects for the scientific analysis...

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