A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology: The Secret Art of the Performer

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Routledge, 1991 - Performing Arts - 272 pages
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Containing over 650 photographs and diagrams, this lavishly illustrated and entirely original sourcebook on Western and non-Western theatre is an inspiring tribute to the secret art of the performer.

Revised and updated with fifty new photographs of the performers' craft, bibliography and index, and three new chapters on:

  • Eurasion Theatre
  • Exercises
  • Organicity.

The Dictionary focuses on the craft of an actor and aims to expand our knowledge of the possibilities of the scenic body, and of the spectator's response to the dynamics of performance.

It includes practical sections on balance, opposition and energy, and discusses such issues as, The Text and the Stage, The Dilated Body, and Energetic Language.

The visual essay of photographs, drawings and diagrams which runs parallel to the text is skilfully constructed to complement the textual argument and the whole Dictionary is vital reading for students of contemporary theatre theory.

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A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology subtly juxtaposes visual demonstrations of the performer's craft, from a wealth of Oriental and Occidental sources, to uncover knowledge of action in the ... Read full review

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About the author (1991)

EUGENIO BARBA (1936) Italian born, emigrated to Norway in 1954 where he worked as a welder and seaman. From 1961 to 1964, he followed Jerzy Grotowski's work in Poland, publishing the first book about him, In Search of a Lost Theatre (1965). In 1963, after spending 6 months in India, he published an essay on kathakali, a theatre form previously unknown in the West. In 1964 he founded Odin Teatret in Oslo, transferring it in 1966 to Holstebro (Denmark) as the Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium. He has directed 32 productions which have been regularly presented in Europe, Asia, North and South America. In 1979 he founded ISTA, the International School of Theatre Anthropology, an itinerant institution with actors, dancers, musicians and scholars interested in investigating the principles of scenic presence. He has written many books and articles, amongst which The Paper Canoe. A Guide to Theatre Anthropology (Routledge 1994), Theatre: Solitude, Craft, Revolt (Black Mountain Press 1999) and Land of Ashes and Diamonds. My Apprenticeship in Poland (Black Mountain Press 1999). He has received numerous international awards and honorary doctorates.

Nicola Savarese was born in Rome. Professor at the University Romatre (Rome), he teaches History of Theatre and Performance at Department of Performing Arts. His studies deal with the complex dynamic of the meetings between Asian theatres and Occidental theatre and the contemporary performers in different contex. He as travelled widely in Asia and particularly in Japan, where he lived for two years. On the relationship between Oriental and Occidental theatres he has published, among many other works, Teatro e spettacolo fra Oriente e Occidente (Theatre and Performance Beyond the Sea, Roma 1992, translated in Spanish), Parigi/Artaud/Bali (L'Aquila 1997), Training (Roma 2004). He is permanent member of ISTA (International School of Theatre Anthropology) since its foundation and he is editor of review Teatro e storia. He was guest scholar at Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles in 1999.

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