Why did the Europeans invent a non-musical theatre? We can find the origins of this idea in Aristotle and Peripatetics theory on acting. Recent studies have shown that the modern Occidental theories of acting have been largely inspired by the actio theory of Roman rhetoric. The conceptual association between the actor and the orator is Aristotle's invention.
The Peripatetic thinkers use the term “acting (hupokrisis)” especially to criticize Demosthenes. For the Peripatetics, his discourse was as much vulgar as the acting of theatre actors, because he spoke to please the masses. This critique reflects the political context, which opposes the pro-Macedonian Peripatetic school and the anti-Macedonian democratic orator.
In Peripatetic rhetoric, the indicator of vulgarity is the tendency to sing and to dance, which aims to enhance the sensational reaction of the audience. This criterion is applied not only to the orators, but also to the stage actors — in Poetics, Aristotle invents, in a way, a theoretical non-musical theatre, excluding the singing actors.
This is tentative to establish a new model of “true-saying”, which could be substituted for the archaic and Platonic model, based on the magical power of singing. This Aristotelian new model of true-saying founded the modern European theatre, as well as science and capitalism.
After working in Berlin in the 1920's, the German theatre director Erwin Piscator went into exile to New York. There he spent the whole 1940's, and worked as a theatre director and director of the school “Dramatic Workshop.” His remarkable productions of that time include “War and Peace” (1942) based on Tolstoy's novel and including the role of a narrator and film projections. The aim of these features was to let the audience keep a distance from fictional events: The audience should observe them critically and think about the connection to real events in the contemporary world during the World War II.
This production surely inspired Tennessee Williams who just studied at the “Dramatic Workshop.” He probably watched Piscator's innovative performance and introduced the narrator and film projection for his highly successful piece “Glass Menagerie” (1944).
But Piscator was not satisfied by Williams' work, because it didn't seem to encourage the audience to a commitment to current political and social struggle. He declared his disappointment which motivated another student: the co-founder of the “Living Theatre”, Judith Malina. She pursued Piscator's practice for their productions which directly involved the audience and its real life.
However, Williams' attempt was influential. He refined the essence of Piscator's and surely contributed to American playwriting.
“Ferrarese Pastoral” is a series of pastoral dramas which was written in Ferrara during the latter half of the 16th century. The series include Agostino Beccari's Il Sacrificio (1554), Alberto Lollio's Aretusa (1563), Agostino Argenti's Lo Sfortunato (1567), Torquato Tasso's Aminta (1573), and Battista Guarini's Il Pastor fido (1590). Except for Aminta, all of the above-mentioned pastoral dramas are set in Arcadia.
This paper attempts to reveal why Tasso did not choose Arcadia as a set in Aminta, and then to discuss where the plot is actually set. The analysis of the texts of “Ferrarese Pastoral” leads to the conclusion that in Aminta, Tasso did not intend the return of the Golden Age, which inevitably happens in Arcadia. This is in contrast with Il Pastor fido whose subject is solely the return of the Golden Age. The set of Aminta is the woods surrounding Ferrara, which is Tasso's means of criticizing the city of Ferrara and the Este's court where Tasso himself served as a poet.
So far, theatre photography in Japan in the time between the end of Edo era and the end of Meiji era has received little attention in theatre research: Actors' stills have been seen good for nothing because they were not pictures taken on the stages but in the studios, where actors made up and wore costumes just as if they were having their pictures taken in performances.
My assertion is that this tendency in research should be corrected, because, as in the case of ICHIKAWA Danjuro IX, it is undeniable that we can perceive certain quality of the actor's ideal of acting reflected in his stills. In this context, my paper, seemingly the first attempt to examine the still pictures of Kabuki actors at the time, discusses the significance of those pictures by way of seeing them from the intersection of media- and theatre-history.
The major discussions are two. (1) Although at the beginning the photograph technology was so primitive that it could not surpass the prevailing Ukiyo-e woodcut as the mainstream to portray Kabuki actors' images, the technological developments both in photographing and printing changed the situation in such a way that theatre photographs now became a popular media “genre.” (2) In the 1890's, Kabuki was regarded as an old-fashioned theatrical form, which led to see Kabuki as a historical phenomenon whose arts should be preserved by being photographed.
The present paper attempts to elaborate Kara's notion of the body or the physicality by means of analysing John Silver, a drama first staged in 1967.
Around the same time Kara published one of his representative essays, The Privileged Entities (Tokkenteki Nikutairon), whose influence upon the young theatrical troupes at the time was immense. There Kara stressed the privileged entity of the actor or even of the stage itself.
Although it seems his dramatic imagination on physicality was significantly described in it, it's still too ambiguous to be accurately understood. Therefore this paper will analyse his play, John Silver, in order to grasp clearly the idea of physicality Kara embraced.
John Silver is a drama with the theme of the search for the messiah, John Silver, who never appears: an apparent reflexion of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, which was very influential among the dramatists in the 1960's, especially in their dramatic structures involving the wait for someone or something that would never arrive. But in John Silver, some peculiar characters with physical defects act for Silver. Moreover, an artificial leg of Silver plays an essential part in the drama. These aspects should be seen as keys to interpret the notion of the physicality Kara proposed.