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Dreams and phantasms: towards an ethnoscenological reading of the intercultural theatrical event

Turner, Jane C. (2008) Dreams and phantasms: towards an ethnoscenological reading of the intercultural theatrical event. ISSN 0037-1998

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Abstract

Semioticians writing about the theatre event have been wary of analyzing performance work that is non-Western, or challenges the conventions of Western theatre practice. This article applies Patrice Pavis's model for the analysis of intercultural performance in conjunction with Eugenio Barba's research in theatre anthropology to explore the position of the ethnoscenographer. The four levels of the model allow the spectator to accumulate materials from the knowledge and experience of the performance event to reach a level of readability, or, as Pavis refers to it, legibility. The spectator/critic's process of textualizing a performance event can often neglect or replace those aspects that appeared strange or unfamiliar with that which is knowable. This behavior in conjunction with intercultural performance can lead to notions of otherness and alterity being reaffirmed. What Pavis's model attempts to do, in conjunction with Barba's research on theatre anthropology, is enable the spectator/critic, in the role of an ethnoscenographer, to explore those aspects that are culturally ambiguous or discrepant and seek new and/or different cultural perspectives. The eventual textual montage, while always partial, incorporates that which is known, as well as that which is beyond the Eurocentric gaze.

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