The late twentieth century saw an explosion of interest in semiotics, the science of the signs and processes by which we communicate. In this study, the first of its kind in English, Keir Elam shows how this new 'science' can provide a radical shift in our understanding of theatrical performance, one of our richest and most complex forms of communication.
Elam traces the history of semiotic approaches to performance, from 1930s Prague onwards, and presents a model of theatrical communication. In the course of his study, he touches upon the 'logic' of the drama and the analysis of dramatic discourse. This edition also includes a new post-script by the author, looking at the fate of theatre semiotics since the publication of this book, and a fully updated bibliography. Much praised for its accessibility, The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama remains a 'must-read' text for all those interested in the analysis of theatrical performance.
Keir Elam is Professor of English Drama at the University of Florence.
General Editor's Preface. Acknowledgements. 1. Preliminaries: Semiotics and Poetics: The Semiotics Enterprise; How Many Semiotics?; The material. 2. Foundations: Signs in the Theatre: Prague structuralism and the theatrical sign; Typologies of the sign. 3. Theatrical Communication: Codes, Systems and the Performance Text: Elements of theatrical communication; Theatrical Systems and Codes; Theatrical competence: frame, convention and the role of the audience. 4. Dramatic Logic: The construction of the dramatic world; Dramatic action and time; Actant, dramatis persona and the dramatic model. 5. Dramatic Discourse: Dramatic Communication; Context and deixis; Universe of discourse and co-text; Speech acts; The said and the unsaid: implicatures and figures; Textuality; Towards a dramatological analysis. 6. Concluding Comments: Theatre, Drama, Semiotics: Dramatic Text/performance text; A united enterprise? Suggestions for further reading. Bibliography. Index.