Acting and Writing in Genet’s “The
Strange Word ‘Urb’ “
In fact, some authorities maintain that that is why plays are called
dramas, because the imitation is of men acting [drōntas, from drān, “do,
act”). It is also the reason why both tragedy and comedy are claimed
by the Dorians: comedy by the Megarians…. They use the names
comedy and drama as evidence; for they say that they call their outlying
villages kōmai whereas the Athenians call theirs demes [demoi]—the
assumption being that the participants in comedy were called kōmōidoi,
not from their being revelers, but because they wandered from one
village to another, being degraded and excluded from the city—and
that they call “doing” or “acting” dārn whereas the Athenians
designate it prattein.1
WHAT HAS traditionally been called “theater” seems to be in a curious situation today. On the one hand, the emergence of electronically powered techniques of articulation and of transmission appears increasingly to marginalize theater. Insofar as it is considered to be a medium of representation, theater is at an increasing disadvantage with regard to the electronic media. Anything it can represent, film and television can show better, more vividly, more extensively, it would seem. On the other hand, despite such competing media and despite large-scale reductions in government subsidies, theater in its traditional institutional forms persists and in certain areas even flourishes, at least in terms of its ability to attract audiences. Music theater, for instance, whether “musical comedy” or “opera,” continues to enjoy considerable popularity, often teaming up with the media to reach audiences that would otherwise remain inaccessible.
The situation is complicated by the very different situations that
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Publication information: Book title: Theatricality as Medium. Contributors: Samuel Weber - Author. Publisher: Fordham University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 295.
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