Theodore Grammatas:The Theatrical Text and the Performance

The Shadow of the Theatrical Text
The Light of the Theatre Performance

According to the latest performance theories, ancient drama, Aristophanes’s comedies and Lysistrata in particular, has been approached from many and varied perspectives (e.g. feminist, anthropologist, psychological). We have therefore seen substantially different presentations by famous or unknown directors from all around the world. That is why the challenge every time for the spectator is not to see a very experimental or classical performance, but to be emotionally touched according to aesthetic and theatrical criteria. In our global society with its spectacularisation of theatre due also to the influence of television, proposing an authentic and experimental approach to any classical text, as in the case of Astragali’s production of Lysistrata under the direction of Fabio Tolledi, is clearly a revolutionary act, an answer to the cultural alienation which characterises our time.

A theatrical text is different from any other literary text (e.g. novel, poetry). Its meaning does not exist from the beginning, the moment when the author writes it, but it is produced and becomes when the communication by the complicity of actors on stage and the audience during the moment of live performance. The scenic show is a codified semiotic system based on the written text, but more developed and extended (sometimes also changed) due to the director’s personal mediation, actors’ acting and other artistic collaborations (scenography, music, etc.). The public is asked in each performance to approach its meaning and find the artistic value including the author’s message and not only that. It means that every performance is different from any other one before or after, and the spectator of the same dramatic text finds another reason to approve or disapprove its scenic message.

Theodore Grammatas
Professor of Theatre Studies
University of Athens

2 Comments on "Theodore Grammatas:The Theatrical Text and the Performance"

  1. Many thanks, Theodore, for this very valuable contribution to the understanding of Greek Drama. It is an enlightening approach to a genre for which the concept of “respectful” or “faithful” transposition does not always work effectively. As far as Lysistrata is concerned, it is a text easily subject to many and opposite interpretations but, as Astragali has demonstrated, its powerful sense of “Komos”, can still be recreated in laughter which goes deeply into our unconscious and our most primordial needs.
    with my warmest wishes

  2. interessante (e condivisibile) puntualizzazione sulla genesi del messaggio teatrale.
    epperò, cercando una “risposta” alla moderna alienazione culturale, *perfomance* è una parola che – per quanto calzante – m’ingenera inquietudini. mmmm…

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