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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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Semiotics of the stage – I in the stage space


Once in the previous chapter we have reviewed the radical semiotic influence of the actor’s representation as interpretation (stage figure), it is now time to focus on the other basic sign component, without which we could not denote the existence of a theatrical performance, and namely: the stage space (actor + stage space = theatre performance or what we have already called a performative text). Here, in many ways wrongly, someone could equate the stage space and stage architecture (scenography) and it is now the moment to clarify that this is not true. In itself, the stage space is more intellectually measurable environment than a physical symbol of the performative text, i.e. apart from the fact that it brings its own specific internal sense, in essence, it also completely possesses the emblematic architectonic characteristics of the stage, including sign structure itself and scenography. But whether in a given show there is a set design, as material objects on the stage or there is just empty space, is not essential (especially in today’s theatrical context, which to a significant level has been influenced by the theory of “poor theatre” of Grotowski [1968]204 where scenography is literally rejected as a playable construct and where the mere presence of the physicality of the actor in the stage space is already a scenographic decision). In this study, stage space is interesting only in its attitude to the actor’s presence as physicality and sign, also as a spiritual environment in the context of the sign...

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