630 Pages
    by Routledge

    630 Pages
    by Routledge

    What is the Theatre? is one of the most coherent and systematic descriptions and analyses of the theatre yet compiled. Theatre is, above all, spectacle. It is a fleeting performance, delivered by actors and intended for spectators. It is a work of the body, an exercise of voice and gesture addressed to an audience, most often in a specific location and with a unique setting. This entertainment event rests on the delivery of a thing promised and expected – a particular and unique performance witnessed by spectators who have come to the site of the performance for this very reason. To witness theatre is to take into account the performance, but it is also to take into account the printed text as readable object and a written proposition.

    In this book, Christian Biet and Christophe Triau focus on the practical, theoretical and historical positions that the spectator and the reader have had in relation to the locations that they frequent and the texts that they handle. They adopt two approaches: analysing the spectacle in its theatrical and historical context in an attempt to seek out the principles and paradigms of approaching the theatre experience on one hand, and analysing the dramaturgy of a production in order to establish lines of interpretation and how to read, represent and stage a text, on the other. This approach allows us to better understand the ties that link those who participate in the theatre to the practitioners who create theatrical entertainment.

    Part 1: Introduction 1. Points of View Part 2: On going to the theatre 2. Places and spaces: definitions 3. The theatrical space : a concreate space 4. The architectural space Part 3: Evolution of locations and spaces. 5. Some kinds of locations and spaces 6. Social space and the matter of perspective 7. On the location and space of the stage Part 4: What to do in the theatre?: the functioning of the theatrical space? 8. Description and lexicon of the traditional theatrical space 9. Other stages, other devices 10. The coordinates of the staging location 11. The technical elements and materials of the staging location 12. On the danger of analysing everything Part 5: Time, rhythm and tempo Part 6: The body, acting and illusion Part 7: The dramatic text Part 8: Staging: heritage, questions 13. The age of all powers14. The experience of relativity 15. Theatricality up close: an illusion-free theatre? Conclusion Postface: The economic and political positioning of the theatre, by Emmanuel Wallon. Bibliography Acknowledgements Table of Contents ? ? ? ? ?


    Christian Biet is Professor of Performing Arts, Theatrical and Drama Aesthetics and French Studies, University of Paris-Nanterre and the Institut Universitaire de France. He is also a regular visiting professor at NYU, and a member of the editorial committee of the French theatrical review Théâtre/Public and of Littératures classiques. Recent books include Théâtre de la cruauté et récits sanglants (France XVIe-XVIIe siècle) [Theatre of Cruelty and Bloody Stories (France, from the End of the Sixteenth Century to the Beginning of the Seventeenth)] (2006), Tragédies et récits de martyres (France, fin XVIe-début XVIIe siècle) [Tragedies and Martyrs' Tales (France, from the End of the Sixteenth Century to the Beginning of the Seventeenth)] with M.-M. Fragonard (2009) and Le Théâtre du XVIIe siècle [Seventeenth-Century Theatre] (2009). He has recently worked on several issues of Théâtre/Public including topics covering Chinese theatre, "Penser le Spectateur" ["Thinking About the Spectator"] (no. 208, May 2013); Flemish performance, "Carte Blanche à Olivier Py" ["Carte Blance for Olivier Py"] (no. 213, June 2014); and repertory, "Le répertoire aujourd'hui" ["Stock Theatre Today"] (no. 225, June 2017); and also an issue of Communications on the theoretical question of performance (no. 92, 2013).

    Christophe Triau is Professor of Theatrical Studies at the University of Paris-Nanterre. He also works as a dramaturge. His PhD was on seventeenth-century French theatre, and his work now focuses mostly on contemporary theatre, especially dramaturgy and aesthetics of stage direction. He has edited many collective publications and issues of reviews such as Alternatives théâtrales (and is a member of its editorial committee) and Théâtre/Public (in particular, the biannual "Etats de la scène actuelle" issues, in collaboration with O. Neveux) and has written widely about contemporary stage directors, most recently a book on Joel Pommerat's Cendrillon (2013).

    "A very important book ... that considers a range of issues relating to theatre production in an informed but also highly enjoyable style."

    Dominic Glynn, University of London, UK 

    "A very valuable and accessible resource, bringing together clear explanations of key terminologies, critical engagement and accessible illustrative case studies from performance."

    Julia Dobson, University of Sheffield, UK