Actor as Anti-Character: Dionysus, the Devil, and the Boy Rosalind


Working from the premise that the stage performer's primary functions derive from celebrative rituals, this book describes the figure of the actor as "anti-character" in premodern popular theatre. Particularly in plays belonging to the popular, performative tradition, the actor simultaneously impersonated and subverted the character of the playtext. By doing so, he affirmed the ritual-celebrative authority of the performer and audience over the ideological authority of the written text. Included are close analyses of three major playtexts in performance: Aristophanes' Frogs, the medieval mystery plays, and Shakespeare's As You Like It.

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