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Performance Analysis: An Introductory Coursebook / Edition 1

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This revolutionary introductory performance studies coursebook brings together classic texts in critical theory and shows how these texts can be used in the analysis of performance.
The editors put their texts to work in examining such key topics as:

• decoding the sign

• the politics of performance

• the politics of gender and sexual identity

• performing ethnicity

• the performing body

• the space of performance

• audience and spectatorship

• the borders of performance.
Each reading is clearly introduced, making often complex critical texts accessible at an introductory level and immediately applicavble to the field of performance. The ideas explored within these readings are further clarified through innovative, carefully tested exercises and activities.

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Editorial Reviews

A reader introducing students to the theoretical analysis of performance by compiling a range of different theoretical perspectives, each addressing a key dimension of the performed event or illustrating an analytical principle that can be applied to it. The selection is based on usability rather than a particular formula or approach to interpretation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415224079
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Colin Counsell is based at The University of North London. Laurie Wolf is Assistant Professor for Theatre at The College of William and Mary, Virginia, USA.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Decoding the artefact 1
1.1 The sign: from Course in General Linguistics 3
1.1 The sign: from Collected Papers 10
1.2 Myth: from Mythologies 12
1.3 Structure: from 'The Structural Study of Myth' 17
1.4 The frame: from Frame Analysis 24
Pt. 2 The politics of performance 31
2.1 Ideology: from 'Ideology and the Ideological State Apparatuses' 32
2.2 Epic theatre: from 'The Street Scene' 43
2.3 The postmodern avant-garde: from The Postmodern Condition 49
Pt. 3 Performing gender and sexual identity 57
3.1 Constructing gender I: The property model: from This Sex Which Is Not One 59
3.2 Constructing gender II: The culture/nature model: from 'Sorties' 66
3.3 The drag act: from Gender Trouble 72
3.4 Gestic criticism: from 'Brechtian Theory/Feminist Theory' 77
3.5 Acting camp: from The Politics and Poetics of Camp 86
Pt. 4 Performing ethnicity 95
4.1 The Other: from 'The Economy of Manichean Allegory' 97
4.2 Blackface: from Love and Theft 104
4.3 The resisting viewer: from 'Teaching Resistance' 111
4.4 Orality: from 'De-scribing Orality' 116
Pt. 5 The performing body 125
5.1 Political bodies: from Discipline and Punish 127
5.2 Moving bodies: the mime: from 'The Discourse of (the) Mime' 133
5.3 Transgressive bodies: from 'The Body of Signification' 140
5.4 The body adorned: from Adorned in Dreams 146
Pt. 6 The space of performance 155
6.1 Enacting space: from 'Space and Context' 156
6.2 Locus and Platea: from Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition 164
6.3 Environmental space: from Places of Performance 170
Pt. 7 Spectator and audience 177
7.1 The interactive spectator: from 'Interaction between Text and Reader' 179
7.2 The gaze: from 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' 185
7.3 Structure of feeling: from Marxism and Literature 193
Pt. 8 At the borders of performance 201
8.1 Liminal and liminoid: from 'Liminal to Liminoid, in Play, Flow, and Ritual' 202
8.2 The pageant: from Carnival and Theatre 210
8.3 Carnival: from Rabelais and His World 216
8.4 Deep play: from 'Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight' 222
Pt. 9 Analysing performance: The Patrice Pavis Questionnaire 229
Bibliography 233
Index 245
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