Iconographical research of theater is caught between two strongly counteractive tendencies. The first is an empirical pull to elucidate all evidence linking a pictorial document with its possible theatrical context, a centripetal movement to close the "representative gap." The second features theoretical questions that continually work to widen that gap, allowing for a plurality of referents. The author discusses alternatives in detail and examines how the dilemma caused by the counteractive tendencies can be overcome.
Photography's early established claim to objectivity made it a prime instrument for documentation, and eventually its innovators managed to freeze action to suit the nature of the medium. The dependence on carefully maintained poses and the time needed to sustain such positions was no obstacle for the photographic reproduction of a theatrical moment. The history of the use of photography to capture theatrical performance is briefly, yet concisely, traced.
Introduces this special issue's collection of essays concerning new concepts and practices in theater analysis. States that these new concepts shift the political implications of theatrical manifestations of culture by the creation of the "intercultural," a floating, unstable, and global view not defined by nation-states. Notes the revision of cartographic location of all cultures, as now being seen through a "kaleidoscope" of exchange, borrowing, bartering and appropriation, dependent on the subject position of the borrower.
In the case of 18th century theatrical portraits, the relations between French and English actors and artists exerted a considerable influence in introducing new patterns of representations of the actors, as well as new artistic media or pictorial fashions. The relationship between painted and engraved portraits is examined, and a comparative study of French and English theater iconography is presented. The author provides an account of the main series of printed portraits of actors from both countries during the 18th century.
Theater iconography systematically attempts to integrate the pictorial representation of theater as a vital source of information in researching the history of theater. Given the primacy of the written word in Western culture, the status of the illustration as a source of historical research has remained low. Theater iconography, however, involves the search for a new dialectical relationship between the written word and theater illustration, in which the latter is not immediately interpreted as an appendage to the former. An "autonomous" reading of the image is involved through the use of other documents, preferably from other sign systems. The goal is to study theater history with the help of tools that are more effective than those previously used.
Discusses aspects of signification and coding in intercultural interpretation, and examines the relationship between practices and the experience of culture by focusing on western performance of Middle Eastern dance, or what is commonly known as 'belly dance.' Uses the example of a Turkish-American wedding as an experiential site, where the dance functions as a cultural practice that dissolves the codes that would otherwise define a dancing female body, but dissolves the status of the body as object, and with it the hermeneutics of cultural identity.
Provides a discussion of a performance of Carlo Goldoni's "The Servant of Two Masters" directed by Omri Nitzan at the Israeli National Theatre in 1993. Focuses on "the histrionic manifestations of the actor's impersonation of and intersection with the performance's implied spectator." Provides a definition of the "implied spectator" and explains the difference between the audience and the "implied spectator." Discusses the "implied spectator" in Nitzan's production as well as in a performance of "Gorodish-The Seventh Day" by the dramatist and director Hillel Mittelpunkt.
The author examines "doubtful images" in Dutch theater history, which are images created to document performances from the 16th and 17th centuries. The reason they are labeled "doubtful" is that one cannot be entirely sure as to whether the illustrated scenes contain theatrical performances or even stages. Several such images are identified and discussed.
Explores the notion of the "orientalization" of the Orient in 19th Century French Opera, noting that the fact that this particular genre is often referred to as "perfumed" betrays a certain European preconception of the East. Focuses on history and constructions within George Bizet's "Carmen" and "Les Pêcheurs de perles," Hector Berlioz's "Les Troyens," Giacomo Meyerbeer's "L'Africaine," "Lakmé" by Léo Delibes, Camille Saint-Saëns's "Samson et Dalila," Jules Massenet's "Esclarmonde" and "Thaïs."
Examines aspects of theatrical representation of the African world view, and its modes of transition in dramatic structuring between the African and Caribbean diasporas. Applies the heuristic models of the basic structural types of 'theater as storytelling' and 'theater as dream-ritual' to Derek Walcott's "Dream on Monkey Mountain" and "Ti-Jean and His Brothers," Trevor Rhone's "Old Story Time," and Dennis Scott's "An Echo in the Bone" as examined beside their African counterparts in Wole Soyinka's "A Dance of the Forests" and "The Road," Efua Sutherland's "The Marriage of Anansewa."
Provides an analysis of three performances which shows how sociocultural analysis of theatrical performances are contingent on the context defined by its production: Molière's "Dom Juan" directed at the Comédie-Française by Jacques Lasalle (1993); Louise Doutreligne's "Don Juan d'origne" directed by Jean-Luc Paliès (1994) at the Café de la Danse; Chekhov's "The Three Sisters" directed by Nika Kossenkova and Pascal Larue at the Cartoucherie de Vincennes (1993). Draws extensively on the philosophy of Russian theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, in particular his idea of the "chronotope," to show how sociohistorical conditions offer a context for the interpretation of dramatic performances.
The use of iconography in Théâtre Italien plays presented in France in the 17th century is discussed. Such plays were driven out of the country in 1697, accused of obscenity in words and gestures. The possible gestures considered to be indecent are speculated upon, noting that the Théâtre Italien dealt mostly with satire at a time when sacred ideals were more culturally supported.
Labels Anne Bogart's deconstructionist directorial style as postmodern, and discusses its influence by the philosophy and practice of the Asian martial arts Tai Chi Chuan and Aikido. Relates Bogart's practice of "a feminist subjectivity centered but egoless" style of direction as being informed by Taoist principles that are incorporated into her development of a collaborative, non-hierarchical, kinesthetic composition technique called "Viewpoints."