The term “metatheatre” now so casually bandied about, and sometimes with little acknowledgement of its origins, was first coined by Lionel Abel in “Metatheatre” is a convenient name for the quality or force in a play which These remarks by Lionel Abel seek to establish “metatheatre” as a dramatic. Julian Markels; Lionel Abel: Metatheatre, Shakespeare Quarterly, Volume 15, Issue 4, 1 October , Pages –,

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It may — by devices like plays within plays, self-consciously “theatrical” mwtatheatre, and commentary on the theatre itself — dwell on the boundaries between “illusion” or artifice and “reality” within a play, making us speculate on the complex mixture of illusion and reality in our ordinary experience.

For example, in “Genet and Metatheatre” Abel describes “a new feeling of reality” when the audience is made aware of the costume as costume: I was very happy with the company.

A similar effect of metareference is achieved when the performance convention of avoiding direct contact with the camera, generally used by actors in a television drama or film, is temporarily suspended. There’s a problem loading this menu right now. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

And if anyone thinks Lionel Abel has tempered his style be forewarned: If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? From the same modern view, events, when interesting, will have the quality of having been thought, rather than of having simply occurred. On the one hand, we continually find ourselves attempting to consider the aesthetic function as something secondary which may exist but is not necessary; on the other hand, the aesthetic function compels our attention outside of art so frequently, turns up in so many of the most varied manifestations of life, and even appears as an essential component of habitation, dress, social intercourse, and so forth, that we must think about its role in the overall organization of the world.


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Emtatheatre the actor is not necessarily engaged at this point in the direct address of the audience, the reality of the male performer beneath the female character is openly, and comically, acknowledged qualifying in important ways, supported further in the scene and the play as a whole, the tragic act of her imminent suicide.

My lord, you played once i’th’university, you say. Lionel Abel’s original Metatheatre, now published in the company of new essays, has inspired a whole generation of playwrights and critics since it first appeared in Then, when he returns to literary studies inhe is convinced of the existence of an empirical criterion that demonstrates the existence of the poetic function. The Dual Asymmetry of Cultural Signs.

Metatheatre: A New View of Dramatic Form – Lionel Abel – Google Books

Metatheatre begins by sharpening our awareness of the unlikeness of life to dramatic art; it may end by making us aware of life’s uncanny likeness to art or illusion. Ann Arbor, Ardis, The substitution of the poetic for the metalingual function, however, does not produce a totally satisfactory solution either.

Unlike most works of theatrical criticism– I’m not a big stage fan, so I find most of it way above my head– Abel’s little work is readable, understandable, and finishable by the average joe on the street with more than an eighth-grade education.

Get to Know Us. Explore the Home Gift Guide. But then the playwright has the obligation to acknowledge in the very structure of his play that it was his imagination which controlled the event from beginning to end. Such plays have truth in them, not because they convince us of real occurrences or existing persons, but because they show the reality of the dramatic imagination, instanced by the playwright’s and also by that of his characters.

How the World Became a Stage.

Husserl distinguishes between two types of signs: It can be created regardless of the presence of any actual walls in the set, or the physical arrangement of the theatre building or performance space, or the actors’ distance from or proximity to the audience.


In this sense, the “fourth wall” is a convention of actingrather than of set design. Literary concepts Metafictional techniques Self-reflexive plays. Structure, Sign, and Function. Therefore, if one proceeds in accordance with this wider approach and substitutes the aesthetic for the poetic function, the result is the following chart of artistic—not only linguistic—functions:.

While the audience can see through this “wall”, the convention assumes, the actors act as if they cannot.

Metatheatre: A New View of Dramatic Form: Lionel Abel: : Books

Customers who viewed this item also viewed. They represent to the playwright the effect of dramatic imagination before he has begun to exercise his own; on the other hand, unlike figures in tragedy, they are aware of their own theatricality.

For example, in the essay ” Hamlet Q. Don Quixote looks for situations of which he wants to be a part, not waiting for life to oblige, but replacing reality with imagination when the world is lacking in his desires.

First, it circumscribes abl and analysis of this self-reflexive phenomenon within the proposed generic contrast to classical tragedy, thereby limiting consideration of other aspects. Amazon Inspire Digital Educational Resources. Or consider this potential meta-joke: This page was last edited on 12 Juneat When a scene is set indoors and three of the walls of its room are presented onstage, the “fourth” of them would run along the line dividing the room from the auditorium technically called the “proscenium”.

Metatheatre; a new view of dramatic form

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