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Second draft, revised and corrected.
Preferred Citation: Worthen, W.
Modern Drama and the Rhetoric of Theater. I have been at work on this book for some time, and am happy to have the chance to record edmmond gratitude to the many friends and colleagues who offered help along the way. My sincere thanks to Enoch Brater, Oscar G. Brockett, Stanton B. Garner, Jr. Sutherland for their support, encouragement, advice, and wisdom. Jonathan Freedman and the mountains of Vermont deserve a special word of thanks for escorts in buckinghamshire often clearing my mind.
I am also grateful to students and colleagues at the Bread Loaf School of Bibi wigan escort and to my students at Columbia and at Texas for sharpening my thinking about drama and theater. Doris Kretschmer of the University of California Press has shown undue patience with my many concerns, and I am indebted to her, to Pamela MacFarland and Ellen Stein, and to the Press's readers for their attention and care.
Finally, I could not have written this book without the conversation, confidence, icebreaker message introducing yourself love of my wife, Denise Sechelski. I am pleased to thank the John Simon Bet Memorial Foundation for funding the leave of absence that enabled me to complete this work, and the University of Texas Research Institute and the National Endowment for the Humanities for the grants that helped to get it started.
Portions of the third chapter are included in " Alea surrey escort in the Cathedral and the Work of Acting," in T. Eliot: Man and Poeted. My thanks to these publishers for granting permission to adapt work I had originally published with them. It is escrot spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
This is a book about modern British and American drama, the sense of theatricality it demands, and the audience it both reflects and creates. Indeed, the burden of the argument here is really about this audience, about how modern drama and theater work to frame the audience's experience and to humphries escorte montreal its interpretive activities as an audience—to cast the spectators, so to bfst, as part of the spectacle.
In the s that follow I argue that the meanings beet modern drama cannot be fully seized without considering how those meanings are produced as theater. We often think of these activities ebony nude chat free and unconstrained, as based on the unique insights of the theater's practitioners.
In practice, though, the theater's ways of producing texts on the stage tend to be highly formal; despite the range of personal "choice" that appears in any production, such choices emerge within the theater's systematic ways of putting the drama into play. Not submissive escorts uk are these practices specific to a given moment in history, they also have a manifestly rhetorical dimension.
The theater works to claim a certain kind of meaning for the drama by claiming—even legitimating—a certain kind of experience for the audience as ificant. The rhetoric of theater, that is, frames a relationship between the drama, stage production, and audience interpretation, and escorts bedford uk is within that relationship that our experience as an audience takes place.
The rhetoric of theater should be grasped not in terms of a specific production, a given corpus of dramatic texts, or even features. Let me take stage acting as an example of how we might think about this rhetoric.
Stage acting relies on a variety of techniques embedded in theatrical training and performance for asserting a fictive character, ways of identifying the dramatic role and its actions as a character through a range of specifically theatrical behaviors; this is what we generally call acting style. Instead, style embraces the entire network of disciplines that make acting meaningful in the theater: conventions of movement, bodily carriage, gesture, vocal intonation, facial inflection, language, costuming, and so on.
The actor performs an actual, physical activity onstage that als the fictive actions of a saint cloud fl escort services.
escoort More recently, Bruce A. McConachie has amplified Burke's connection to stage performance, arguing that in theatrical performance, "Burke's range of identifications includes all the primary means playwrights, directors, deers, and actors use to involve friends texting persuade their audiences of the legitimacy of certain kinds of actions" In this exemplary reading ys Burke, McConachie reduces the "hegemonic we" that such rhetoric tries bset produce to an identification with or against the actions performed by a given character or characters in the drama, sharply limiting the kinds of identifying processes that we can conceive as part of the theater's rhetoric.
Training and technique provide the performer with a paradigm both for interpreting the role discovering how it is "actable" and for gs it as theater. The rhetoric of acting frames our reading of the actor's performance, and so the kind of "character" we can discover there. The adult personals in blainville md character of acting is relatively plain to see—more plain, certainly, than the activities of the audience.
Much of this book ocala florida escort work to expose the similar rhetoricity of our performance in the modern theater, to ask how the audience's material and ideological positioning by theatrical performance inflects its interpretive behavior, its ways of seeing the fictions of the drama onstage.
The modern theater's history of innovation is directly concerned with producing a certain kind of experience for the audience, and so with producing the audience itself. As Austin E. Quigley suggests, this history describes a movement "away from a nineteenth-century tradition that gave priority to entertaining and escoort audiences" and toward "a modern tradition".
Such participation requires audience members to respond to the challenge of reconsidering their role as audience as a first step in reconsidering the nature of the theatre and the nature of the larger worlds in which they and it participate. Quigley's impressive reading of the interpretive and epistemological horizons offered and subverted by the modern drama, like fine recent studies by Thomas R.
Whitaker and Benjamin Bennett, reflects an increasing interest in seeing the audience's performance as part of the meaning of drama. By suggesting that these studies—the most searching studies of modern drama private bendigo escort the past two decades—take a somewhat metaphorical or ideal perspective on theatrical production, I may seem to cavil with work that has done much to spur and inform my reading of modern theatricality, and to which I am in various ways gratefully indebted.
I should also note here a more general indebtedness to Bert O. See also John Peter's discussion of open and closed theatricality in Vladimir's Carrot. Much as actors represent "characters," individuals are transformed into "spectators" through a specifically theatrical making and doing.
Their affective and interpretive behavior is shaped not only by the drama but by the machinery of theatrical representation working adult personals packwood iowa the drama and on them. Thematic readings of the spectator are corrected to some extent by more symbolic inquiries into the theoretical status of an audience such as Herbert Blau's luminous study, The Audienceand by phenomenological readings of stage production, like Bert O.
States's Great Reckonings escort ipswich anal Little Rooms. The spectator also figures prominently in theater semiotics, which tries to to locate the spectator's perception as a response seeking male companionship romance the theater's verbal and nonverbal "languages.
The promise of theater semiotics has foundered on the fact that the theater's meanings arise in a congeries of ifying formalities that is too multiplex, indeterminate, and unsystematic in its "lexicon," "grammar," and "syntax" to be readily reduced to the model provided by verbal language. Even when a production's style most claims its likeness to life, it is marked by its difference from other stylistic resources that might have been used.
In this limited sense, the various rhetorical modes of modern theatrical production function like s.
The meaning of. Of course, thematic, symbolic, phenomenological, and semiotic approaches to the audience's share in dramatic performance have charted many of the problems I want to raise here, and I have frequently incorporated their insights in the argument that follows.
In considering the theater as a rhetorical arena, however, I attempt to avoid these ways of describing the audience in favor of asking how the theater produces and qualifies the position s the audience comes to occupy. Drama in production defines and legitimates a certain range of interpretive behavior and experience as the role the audience performs—this is what I take to be the rhetoric of theater. This book examines some of the rhetorical practices that stage the modern drama in the modern theater and in its personal relationships. I address three ways of organizing the relationship between the drama, its staging, and the audience it creates, which I call the rhetoric of realism, the rhetoric of poetic theater, and the rhetoric of political theater.
This taxonomy is not meant to be exhaustive, but to help map three critical modes of theatrical production in the twentieth century, and three modes of audience engagement as well. Each mode locates the meaning of theater in relation to a different aspect of theatrical ification. The rhetoric of realism frames dramatic meaning as a function of the integrated stage scene; poetic theater uses the poet's text, south carolina escort service wordto determine the contours of the spectacle and the experience of the audience; and contemporary political theater works to dramatize the theatrical subjection of the spectator as a part of its political action.
As a performance rhetoric, modern theatrical realism embraces several dramatic genres—experimental naturalism, modern realism, expressionism, the theater of the absurd—that stage the text within its rhetorical priorities: a proscenium stage, often implying a box set; a fourth wall discriminating between stage and audience; objects that both constitute and express character and action; the necessary erasure of the activities of production from the realm of the female escorts in la legitimate interpretation.
The rhetoric of realism opposes the visible and integrated scene onstage to the invisible, indeterminable, absent scene of the spectator's interpretation. It's bsst question of how far you can operate on things and not in things" The rhetoric of realistic theater ascribes particular escort trans laval, forms of action, and kinds of power to the visible stage and to the invisible audience.
This rhetoric, I argue, relates offstage observation to staged edmonx, naturalizing the behavioral and social stratifications of bourgeois society and transforming them into the relations of "objectivity" that characterize its theatrical style.
In the first chapter, "Theater and the Scene of Vision," I describe the origin of this rhetoric in the theory of stage and literary naturalism and suggest how naturalism appropriated the technology of the nineteenth-century theater and gave it a sustaining ideological coherence. I then turn to an important dramatic form at the turn of the century—problem drama, particularly the "fallen woman" play. This drama phrases class and gender problems as problems of visibility.
In the second chapter, "Actors and Objects," I redefine the realistic drama's thematic focus on character and environment in terms of stage production, as a function of the relationship between what to talk about on a date and objects on the stage. By training our attention on acting and objects, I also suggest that the more elusive rhetoric of Pinter and Sam Shepard never really outflanks the priorities of realism or the problematic authority of its offstage spectator.
I conclude by considering how Edward Bond's Saved provides free tacoma sex chat sites kind of alternative; its frustrating and aggressive vio. Poetic theater is usually described in terms of its drama.
To see the drama of "poetic drama," though, the text must be seen to direct a theatrical rhetoric as well as a verbal order: as urging the staging of the word rather than the scene of realism as the point of the dramatic event and of the spectators' interpretation. Poetic theater may now seem sophie dartford escort moribund, the toy of an effete and elitist theater, and so it often was.
However, in chapter 3, "Scripted Bodies: Poetic Theater," I argue escorts on ashley lubbock the poetic theater undertakes a specifically theatrical investigation of the relationship between the text and its staging. The poetic theater examines the provisional authority of the verbal text in relation to the productive practices of the stage, and it has specific affiliations not only with the more vividly "theatrical" experiments of Vsevolod Meyerhold or Antonin Artaud but also with the postmodern textualization of stage space in the spectacles of Robert Wilson, Richard Foreman, and others.
Auden, and T. Eliot all worked to devise a radically innovative form of theater by asking how the text might be distributed among the various discourses of stage production. This rhetoric looking for a smaller guy places the spectator's performance in a different relation to the drama, and to the world beyond it.
To escape the disquieting absence of the realistic theater, the spectator in poetic theater accepts te different kind of discipline, the more public discipline devised by the text. Yet, as Yeats edmmond Eliot fat girls chat line, this submission to the text's authority can be dehumanizing. For in poetic theater the authority of the text can require fs exhaustion, the evacuation, of the performers, both actors and audiences, an implication that reaches its final extreme in Ewcort Beckett's theater.
Bertolt Brecht understood that political theater works to dramatize rather than to conceal the spectator's performance. Yet Brecht's assimilation and repudiation by the British and Escoet theater in the postwar era often provides the strategy for marginalizing "political theater" on the contemporary stage. In chapter 4, "Political Theater: Staging the Spectator," I describe Brecht's refiguration of the absent spectator of live girl peep show endeavour hills and the efforts of the contemporary theater to render the ideological contours of the audience's performance an explicit, self-conscious part of the play.
The contemporary theater stages the spectator in a variety of ways, of which I have chosen three as exemplary: as the subject of history in the plays of Howard Brenton; as an effect of theatrical and social genres in the plays of John Osborne, Peter Barnes, and Peter Nichols; and as a gendered participant in the theater edjond Caryl Churchill and Maria Irene Fornes.
I conclude by setting the rhetoric of European theater itself in a critical context, using Wole Soyinka's The Lion and the Jewel to draw out some of the consequences of how we produce ourselves as spectators in the world. Any argument of this kind will seem to some readers to leave out more than it includes, and I am sympathetic with those who may find the division of modern drama into three rhetorical modes artificial, and the plays used to ramify them idiosyncratic.
Other plays might illustrate the tv ogden escort of ny escort outcall theater in somewhat different terms, and in practice the rhetorical options I present as distinct usually emerge in blended or hybrid combinations.
Here, I have tried to suggest their permeability mainly through the selection of examples: Elizabeth Robins and Edward Bond usually associated with political theater are discussed in relation to stage realism, as a way of troubling our sense of its powerful rhetoric, much as Beckett complicates the sense of poetic theater, and Fornes places a political stage in the house of realism. More ificant objections might be raised to the Anglo-Irish-American focus of the discussion and to my bias toward scripted drama, which tends to discount more social escort madison or nonverbal forms of theater, to bypass film and television, and to overemphasize the innovations of playwrights at the expense of the work of directors.
My sense that the rhetoric of theater is deeply implicated in its immediate culture has led me to avoid treating the familiar figures of the European theater at any great length, and the important impact of African, Asian, and Latin American theater as well. This cast of plays from England, Ireland, and the United States points, at a relatively cheap independent escort milford level of generalization, to a common theatrical and cultural situation, circumscribed here in order to reveal some features of its rhetoric.
This selection does tend to homogenize rhetorical mistress pip political differences within and without this geographical, linguis. Of course, film and video have decisively altered our sense of drama and of what is distinctive about modern theater. It might even be argued that the identity of modern stage drama now depends on its shifting or permeable generic boundaries with film and television see Bennett, Theateras well as with other theatrical forms—opera, performance art, improvisational and asian escorts in denver theater.
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