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Theatricality : a dramatic form of contesting spectatorial codes

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The objective of this article is to envisage the body in relation to the notion of theatricality, understood as the moment of tension or drama between the spectator and the performed representation. To perceive the body within the context of a dramatic structure of theatricality means to challenge prevailing theories that eliminate the moment of drama between the spectator and the performance. To justify this, I take Erika Fischer-Lichte's theory of the body as a point of departure. I will acknowledge that [t]he physical articulations which are seen, heard, smelled, or sensed by other spectators or actors...generate perceptible behaviour patterns and actions' (2008: 153). However, I will criticize the possibility of conceptualizing the perceptible in terms of the 'sheer presence of the body or materiality' that Fischer-Lichte's theory proposes by introducing the notion of oscillation. A critical view on oscillation is the return of drama in performance studies. Once every performance is conceived in relation to drama, we have to recognize that the body is discursively constructed through the performative practice of representing and, consequently, that it provides a dramatic moment of theatricality in relation to the spectator. As such, the performing body mobilizes the spectator to envisage different realities and contest dominant politics.
Journal: PERFORMANCE RESEARCH
ISSN: 1469-9990
Issue: 4
Volume: 24
Pages: 68 - 75
Publication year:2019