The Show and the Gaze of Theatre: A European Perspective

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Theatre, in some respects, resembles a market. Stories, rituals, ideas, perceptive modes, conversations, rules, techniques, behavior patterns, actions, language, and objects constantly circulate back and forth between theatre and the other cultural institutions that make up everyday life in the twentieth century. These exchanges, which challenge the established concept of theatre in a way that demands to be understood, form the core of Erika Fischer-Lichte's dynamic book.

Each eclectic essay investigates the boundaries that separate theatre from other cultural domains. Every encounter between theatre and other art forms and institutions renegotiates and redefines these boundaries as part of an ongoing process. Drawing on a wealth of fascinating examples, both historical and contemporary, Fischer-Lichte reveals new perspectives in theatre research from quite a number of different approaches. Energetically and excitingly, she theorizes history, theorizes and historicizes performance analysis, and historicizes theory.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Erika Fischer-Lichte, whose Semiotics of the Theatre is a key work in that field, has produced in The Show and the Gaze of Theatre another wide-ranging and admirably comprehensive guide, this one to the emerging fields of intercultural theatre, performance, and current trends in theatre historiography and theory. I warmly recommend the book to all readers interested in the most current thought in these fields.”—Marvin Carlson, Graduate Center, City University of New York

“In this book Germany's—and probably Europe's—leading theorist and historian of theatre gives a wonderfully clear and truly exciting account of what is cutting edge in her discipline. Erika Fischer-Lichte's book can be read as a practical introduction to theatre studies, as a history of theatre studies as an academic discipline, and as an individual and highly actualized vision of this field with which colleagues and students will argue but which everyone in the field and interested readers outside the field will gratefully acknowledge. This book has all the ingredients of a future classic on this discipline if not of the humanities as a whole.”—Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Stanford University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877456087
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1997
  • Series: Studies in Theatre History & Culture Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 426
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Table of contents: 

Introduction: Theatre Studies from a European Perspective


Theatre and the Civilizing Process: An Approach to the History of Acting

Discovering the Spectator: Changes to the Paradigm of Theatre in the Twentieth Century

From Theatre to Theatricality: How to Construct Reality

What Are the Rules of the Game? Some Remarks on The Yellow Jacket

The Aesthetics of Disruption: German Theatre in the Age of the Media


In Search of a New Theatre: Retheatricalization as Productive Reception of Far Eastern Theatre

Familiar and Foreign Theatres: The Intercultural Trend in Contemporary Theatre

Changing Theatrical Codes: Toward a Semiotics of Intercultural Performance

Intercultural Aspects in Postmodern Theatre: The Japanese Version of Chekhov's Three Sisters

All the World's a Stage: The Theatrical Metaphor in the Baroque and Postmodernism

Passage to the Realm of Shadows: Robert Wilson's King Lear in Frankfurt

Returning the Gaze: Between Cultural Performance and Performance Art

Performance Art and Ritual: Bodies in Performance


Avant-garde and Postmodernism: Theatre between Cultural Crisis and Cultural Change

Walter Benjamin's “Allegory”

Signs of Identity: The Dramatic Character as “Name” and “Body”

The Quest for Meaning

Written Drama/Oral Performance

Theatre Historiography and Performance Analysis: Different Fields, Common Approaches?

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