The Work of Living Art: A Theory of the Theatre

By Adolphe Appia; Barnard Hewitt et al. | Go to book overview

ADOLPHE APPIA AND
"THE WORK OF LIVING ART"

H. D. ALBRIGHT

OF APPIA'S PUBLISHED VOLUMES, The Work of Living Art best represents his mature view of the art of the theatre. Here we see, and perhaps come to understand, Appia the aesthetician--as opposed, let us say, to Appia the reformer of the mise en scène. It is of course in this latter role that he has been widely known in the past, at least partially because interested students have usually had so fragmentary an acquaintance with the main body of his writing. Actually, Appia's various proposals for reforming scenic and lighting conventions-- through which his influence has largely been felt--were, in his own view, secondary to a larger purpose: the formulation of a new aesthetic of the theatre, the basis for a new art form. At a relatively early stage in his thinking, when he was still strongly influenced by Wagner, Appia conceived of this new form as "word-tone drama"; later on, particularly in the volume with which we are now concerned, he saw it as "living art." The career of this unusual man and sensitive artist spanned some of the most interesting and exciting decades in theatrical history. The development of his artistic life, and of the conceptions which gave it purpose and direction, paralleled the development of the new theatre and stagecraft which we now take for granted. Both his life and the central aspects of his work deserve to be better known.

Adolphe Appia was born at Geneva, Switzerland, on September 1, 1862. His father, Louis-Paul Appia, though born in Hanau (in Prussia), was a naturalized Swiss, and spent more

-xi-

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The Work of Living Art: A Theory of the Theatre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Books of the Theatre Series iii
  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Adolphe Appia and "The Work of Living Art" xi
  • Preface 1
  • 1. the Elements 3
  • 2. Living Time 19
  • 3. Living Space 25
  • 4. Living Color 31
  • 5. Organic Unity 38
  • 6. Collaboration 59
  • 7. the Great Unknown and the Experience of Beauty 68
  • 8. Bearers of the Flame 79
  • Designs 83
  • Adolphe Appia's "Man is the Measure of All Things" (protagoras) 123
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