Chapter 2

Acting and semiotics

In the twentieth century, critical attempts to deal with the nature of theatre have been catching up with acting practice. The movement has been away from discussion of the play as literary artefact to the effect which the performance of that artefact makes on the stage. In this process the not unsurprising discovery has been made that it is in action, not just language, that theatre communicates with its audience. Actors have always known this, and Aristotle dropped fairly strong hints some time ago. Theorists accepted this concept, but have been unable to act upon it owing to the attempt to discuss action in terms of a literary form. The discovery that a language of performance is necessary to discuss performance, puts critics somewhat in the position of Molière's Monsieur Jourdain who discovered late in life that he had been speaking prose all his life without having been aware of it.

In the theatre, words are heard not read, and movement is seen. The Elizabethan theatre, one of the most dynamic in theatrical history, itself flourished in an age when the majority of people were illiterate. What impresses the audience is gestures, movements, sounds and images. These become, in the language of semiotics, the 'signs' that theatre sends out and which the audience recognizes. In this context, the subjective actors become an objective sign when seen within the frame of the theatrical event. All the visible and aural elements of the stage contribute to the total meaning: vocal inflexions, set, costume, makeup, the actor's body. The audience is bombarded by visual images from the stage in a manner which, however much the words may jump off the page, it is not when in the study. Indeed, in a fundamental way, what a director tries to do is to integrate all this input in the audience's

-10-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Acting
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 136

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.