Josette Féral

Substance 98/99 l Theatricality (dir)

L'impulsion qui a donné naissance à ce livre sur la théâtralité vient d'une observation et d'une question. La notion de « théâtralité » revient dans de nombreuses disciplines -théâtre, anthropologie, sociologie, psychologie, commerce, économie, politique et psychanalyse (pour n'en nommer que quelques-unes) - où le terme est utilisé de façon soit métaphorique, soit opératoire. Toutefois, une observation attentive révèle qu'il est souvent employé de manière largement divergente et contradictoire. De plus, lorsque la notion est utilisée à l'extérieur du champ théâtral, celle-ci semble renvoyer à des caractéristiques familières, comme si sa signification devenait en quelque sorte implicite pour ceux qui en font usage. À quoi renvoie exactement le terme, et à quelle sorte de théâtre peut-il être relié? Ce sont là les questions préliminaires auxquelles ce livre tente de répondre.

Ce livre rassemble des textes de Marvin Carlson, Sue-Ellen Case, Josette Féral, Joachim Fiebach, Anne-Britt Gran, Silvija Jestrovic, Jean-Susan Leigh Foster, Virginie Magnat, Mitsuya Mori, Timothy Murray, Janelle Reinelt, Freddie Rokem, Eli Rozik, Pierre Sarrazac, Malgorzata Sugiera, Ragnhild Tronstadt.

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The impulse for this volume on Theatricality stemmed from an observation and a question. The notion of theatricality recurs in many different disciplines : theater, anthropology, sociology, psychology, business, economics, politics and psychoanalysis (to name but a few), where the term is used either metaphorically or actually resorted to as an operative concept. However, a closer examination reveals that it is often employed in a widely divergent and contradictory manner. Moreover, when used outside the field of theater, the notion of theatricality seems to refer to familiar characteristics, as if its meaning were somehow implicit for those who use them. To what exactly does this term refer, and to what kind of theater is it related? These are the questions this book tries to deal with.

In this short book, Josette Féral thoroughly examines and clarifies the concept of theatricality in relationship to mimesis. She does this by using these concepts in their historical perspective and by studying how they work in the context of representation.

The notion of theatricality is related to the spectacular, that is to say, with the transformation of everyday life into a spectacle, involving the creation of an «other» relationship with the world. This means that it implies the recognition of an act of representation, the construction of a fiction. On a first level, theatricality appears as the identification or imbrication of a fiction in the representation, all occurring in the space of otherness in which an observer and an observed are confronted to each other.

Of all the arts, theatre is, without a doubt, the space in which it is the easiest to observe this procedure at work and where it is easiest to perform this experimentation. Here theatricality also manifests itself as being related to the spectator above all: it needs the latter so that the process can take place. Without the presence of the spectator, the process of theatricality has no meaning. For a spectator, to notice that there is theatricality at work implies there exists a web of frictions between reality and fiction, between symbolic and emotional codes, between order and chaos. The actor can play with these codes. It is from this game of frictions between these diverse discourses that the pleasure of the actor as well as that of the spectator is born. Theatricality thus emerges from the recognition of a dialectic between the spectacle and the actor or the spectator. This dialectic allows the actor to escape identification to his role while it allows the spectator to escape the catharsis. In this way, theatricality deconstructs the scenic illusion (another name given to mimesis) while it relies on it for dramatic representation.

This book includes texts by Marvin Carlson, Sue-Ellen Case, Josette Féral, Joachim Fiebach, Anne-Britt Gran, Silvija Jestrovic, Jean-Susan Leigh Foster, Virginie Magnat, Mitsuya Mori, Timothy Murray, Janelle Reinelt, Freddie Rokem, Eli Rozik, Pierre Sarrazac, Malgorzata Sugiera, Ragnhild Tronstadt.

ISSN 0049-2426