Examines the establishment and influence of the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Paris (1897-1962). Considers this theater's reputation as a Theater of Horror and comments on its unique place in the history of popular culture. Traces this theater's impact on dramatic and cinematic genres and mentions its consolidation of 19th century melodrama, reinventing it for the 20th century. Informs that it drew on the avant-garde methods of naturalism and "comedies rosses," the honed simplicity of symbolism, the mood and style of expressionism, and even the subversive violence of surrealism.
Examines the formulated ideas of François Delsarte (1811-71) who devised a network of interrelations between different body zones and emotional intensity, intellectual honesty and moral intention, as they were applied to 19th century acting traditions. Discusses his proposed triad of Body, Mind and Spirit as they were equated in different formulations with (a) the Vital, the Mental and the Moral, (b) sensory perception, rational judgment and motivating desires, and (c) the Son, the Father and the Holy Spirit. States that from this triad Delsarte developed a scheme of correspondences between bodily expression, mental philosophy and spiritual theology. Relates this philosophical nexus to the art of expressive acting. Includes notes.
Examines sources which describe the interior of the Palais Cardinal, designed by palace architect Jacques Lemercier and completed in 1641. Informs that in the 1660s this performance venue became the site of the public performances of Jean Baptiste Molière's most successful plays and housed the Paris Opera until a fire destroyed it in 1763. Considers two contradictions which emerge from the sources available on Cardinal Richelieu's theater. Touches on the size of the theater and offers digital reconstructions of the interior.
Examines the art of Marcel Duchamp and Antonin Artaud. Considers Duchamp's anti-art and his enactment of radical negativity of postmodern iconoclasm in his appropriation of "ready-mades"-mass produced objects signed by the artist and exhibited as works of art. Discusses Artaud's position in the anti-art avant-garde movement, and comments on his demand for the destruction of the underlying conditions of Western "text-based theatre." Touches on Artaud's Theater of Cruelty. Mentions both Duchamp and Artaud's artistic theory and its relation to society.
Informs that the theatrical descriptions of Hippolytus Guarinonius are among the most substantial of several signficant discoveries of visual and textual documentation relating to the commedia dell'arte in recent decades. Offers an examination of selected descriptions in the context of related textual and visual records in order to highlight aspects of the new information they offer on the staging of comic routines, and to draw attention to some limitations of using material as this type as historical evidence for stage practice. Provides information on the life of Guarinonius and issues of religion and culture.
In the course of the 1990s, a new paradigm in cultural studies seems to have arisen. In the humanities, the metaphor of culture as text held true until the late 1980s; culture as a whole and different cultural phenomena were understood and interpreted as structural sequences composed of single elements (signs) to which a particular meaning can be attributed. In the 1990s, however, the focus of interest shifted to the processes of making, producing, creating, doing and to the actions, processes of exchange, negotiation and transformation as well as to the dynamics which constitute the agents of these processes, the materials they use and the cultural events they produce. Thus, it seems that the metaphor of culture as performance is gaining ground. Whereas the humanities prevailingly dealt with texts and monuments as the results, manifestations and greatest achievements of modern European culture, they are now concerned with all kinds of performative processes which are, by their very nature, bodily processes. Thus, it seems that the discovery of the performative nowadays directs the humanities and cultural studies in particular.
Examines the term "semiotic approach" as applied to theater. Asserts that the corporeality of the body should be seen as a particular case of a general principle of the theater medium, which is characterized by imprinting its images on materials similar to the models of these images. States that awareness of the body of the actor, while in character, should be conceived as a metatheatrical device indicating theatricality; experiencing the body of the actor expands personification to include the material level and lends to the theatrical performance a dimension lacking in other fictional arts. Informs that since the corporeality of the actor is an integral part of the signifier level of the text, it also enters into aesthetic relations with other signifiersin the sense of inducing aesthetic experiences. Concludes that viewing the principle of acting as a crucial feature of theater leads to the conclusion that cinematic and televisual drama and puppet theater have more in common with theater than with any other form of art or social drama.
Considers William Shakespeare's popularity in Germany and offers discussion on from eighteenth-century Swiss critic Ulrich Bräker on Shakespeare's plays. Considers Bräker's observations on character and dramatic development. States that the author's criticisms contained in his book "A Few Words About William Shakespeare's Plays" is far from being an attempt at objectivity, rather it is the fascinating record of a reading experience that mixes puzzlement, excitement, incomprehension, gratitude, and above all, wonder. Also comments on Bräker's play "Die Gerichtsnacht oder Was ihr wollt" ("The Night at the Tribunal or What You Will"), as well as his autobiography.
Offers commentary from the author on his play "The Back of Beyond" and discusses the influence of Shakespearean plays on this work. Reflects on the creation of this work which began in 1979. Touches on characters and plot and mentions the influence of "King Lear" in particular on the author's play. Remarks on the production of the play "The Back of Beyond," noting costumes, design, and sets.
Informs that it is "Theatre Research International"'s 25th anniversary. Mentions the inclusion of two indices in this issue that display the importance this journal places on history. Offers thanks to various people who have offered their services to this journal.
Considers the composition of audiences participating in theatrical presentations second half of the 17th century in Paris, France. Offers literary, economic, and sociocultural arguments to try and exclude most Parisians from theater. Touches on the religious opposition to theater during this period. Comments on the work of leading playwrights of the time.