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Theatrical Reality

Space, Embodiment and Empathy in Performance

Performance, dramaturgy, and scenography are often explored in isolation, but in Theatrical Reality, Campbell Edinborough describes their connectedness in order to investigate how the experience of reality is constructed and understood during performance. Drawing on sociological theory, cognitive psychology, and embodiment studies, Edinborough analyzes our seemingly paradoxical understanding of theatrical reality, guided by the contexts shaping relationships between performer, spectator, and performance space. Through a range of examples from theatre, dance, circus, and film, Theatrical Reality examines how the liminal spaces of performance foster specific ways of conceptualizing time, place, and reality.

170 pages | 10 halftones | 7 x 9 | © 2016

Art: Art--General Studies

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"An engaging and original exploration of the many ways in which reality takes shape in the theatre, where each chapter twists our understanding of the 'nature' of theatrical reality, and related assumptions of how spectators experience reality. . . . A thoughtful analysis."

Journal of Contemporary Drama in English

"Edinborough identifies specific practitioners and practices from within a wide range of theatrical forms including theatre, dance, immersive and participatory performance, stand-up and film. Some of these – Wagner, Appia, Stanislavsky, Brecht, Grotowski, Pina Bausch and Punchdrunk – are very familiar and yet he manages to bring a fresh perspective to their work. . . . The accounts of his own experiences in and of theatrical space are sharp, illuminating and honest about the gaps that can occur between what is intended by theatre makers and what is experienced by spectators. . . . It provides a well-structured and carefully signposted introduction to the idea that successful theatre making requires an appreciation and understanding of the role of the spectator in the construction of theatrical space and in the realisation of theatrical reality."

Studies in Theatre and Performance

"Edinborough’s book takes seriously the embodied spectator, embedded in space, and the role she plays in constructing the theatrical experience. . . . There are smart discussions of really interesting performances. . . . He rightly attends to differing paradigms of reception in the experience of theatrical reality and gives important attention to ways in which contemporary performance is challenging and restaging spectators."

Comparative Drama

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Locating Theatrical Reality
Chapter 2
Embodiment and the Dialectical Reality of Scenic Space
Chapter 3
Watching Bodies in Theatrical Space
Chapter 4
Authentic Fictions: Truthful Behaviour in Given Circumstances
Chapter 5
Alienated Realities
Chapter 6
Theatrical Reality Beyond the Theatre Walls
Chapter 7
Spectatorial Corporeality and Theatrical Intimacy
Chapter 8
Meta-Realities in Autobiographical Theatre, Film and Television

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