The Formation of the Elements of Theatrical Culture at Students: Between Semiotics of Signification and Communication

By Bejan, Angela | Review of Artistic Education, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

The Formation of the Elements of Theatrical Culture at Students: Between Semiotics of Signification and Communication


Bejan, Angela, Review of Artistic Education


The concept of culture, understood as a system of elements of the reality sorted by man with an existence outside the somatic human, whose culturality (the state of being culture) is the result of the realization, each time contextual (in concrete situations), of certain possibilities of manifestation stored in human nature in the form of some innate virtualities.

This approach of the concept of culture and of the cultural element (theatrical) creates some methodological openings in interpretation, motivated by the very nature of the phenomenon in question. Namely, the condition of a concrete situation in which one can speak of a cultural event of any kind, as latent and potential existence in the human being, implies the existence of a process of signification (it gives to the reality a certain content that is considered cultural), with all the mechanisms (psychological, linguistic, biological), the variables and the rules involved in. And just this process can meet the requirements of a semiotic and hermeneutic perspective or the other fields where it concerns content, a framework and a context of interpretation and of its transmission. Moreover, this state of things characterizes every object of the reality (be it material or ideal), hence the adequacy to our conception of culture. I.e. every reality exists with a content (cultural) which man prescribes or gives, depending on a given situation (frame and context in wider terms). Thus, it answers also to the theories became customary in the humanities, which show that man lives in a world of signs or symbols.

The etymology of the word symbol100 demonstrates a function of its representation, which suppose a non-arbitrary relation between the symbolic image and what it symbolize (symbolized reality). Between these two there was a pre-unity before being broken. It follows that to give significance it means to restore the union, to reconstruct the whole, and only under the conditions of an appropriate signification will occur this. Thus, the symbol is not just a substitute of an absent, it is an updating of the absent, thus satisfying the indispensable condition of the unity in diversity, i.e. of the reconstitution of the whole (through the recognition of the union expression-content).

In other words, it valorises, in this case, the relation between the symbolic and the existential or the ontic, which comes to the attention of anthropology, tempted this time of semiotics and hermeneutics. Thus, for Lucian Blaga, for example, the effectiveness of initiation rites is not a change of social or religious status, but they are true ontological mutations [Blaga 1969: 322]. In an ontological foundation act it operates the symbol as a faithful equivalent of the authenticity, of the essence of the reality, thus making it a sign which is part of a system of transmission of these authenticities. In this respect, we can equate the symbol and the sign, the more so that Lévi-Strauss considers culture as being composed of such semiotic systems, the linguistic one being also the basic one.

Such an interpretation of the symbol can be applied to cultural phenomenon in general, and especially to theatrical culture. Considering any reality (including theatrical element) as a symbol for the human being, its process of signification as an act of updating its content or its essential value, it is the same thing with the process of updating or concrétisation of the cultural potentialities related to this reality, seen only from another perspective, that of the theory of its symbol or, narrower, of the sign. Especially since the symbol, thus understood, is not presented as invariably than in its layer of depth, which is essential and universal. The changes (in the signification act) occur in the perimeter of culture (as individual potentiality and of the community) in which it is manifested, "without thereby its profound meaning is altered or abandoned" [Cojocaru 2009: 17]. In this respect, we consider wholeheartedly, the theatrical element as a symbol which content is nothing but the cultural dimension in our understanding, which is a product of the relation of the theatrical element with human being in a concrete situation. …

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