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I — Theatricality Introduction: Theatricality: A Key Concept in Theatre and Cultural Studies

  • Erika Fischer-Lichte (a1)


At the Theatre Historiography Symposium, held during the 1993 Helsinki IFTR/FIRT Conference, a specific term came into circulation which infiltrated and permeated the discussion to such an extent that it appeared to adopt the position and function of a key term in theatre historiography: ‘theatricality’. This was no great surprise, however. For the symposium set out to consider two basic issues: first, to examine the application of analytic strategies from other disciplines to theatre history and, secondly, to identify the distinctive features of theatre history as a single discipline. Both concerns are closely related to the concept of theatricality.



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1 In the seventeenth century, when the metaphorical use of the term theatre was most widespread, a series of books flooded Europe which used the term in very similar ways to those found today in cultural studies as, for example, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570), Theatrum Europaeum (1627 ff.), Theatrum Cometicum (1681), Theatrum poenarum, suppliciorum et executiorum criminalium (1693–7).

2 Schramm, Helmar, ‘Theatralität und Öffentlichkeit. Vorstudien zur Begriffsgeschichte von “Theater”’, ed. Karlheinz, Barck et al. Ästhetische Grundbegriffe. Studien zu einem historischen Wörterbuch (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1990), p. 206.

3 See Tony Pearson articles on Evreinov, in Theatre Research International, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Summer 1987), pp. 147–67, ‘Evreinov and Pirandello: Twin Apostles of Theatricality’ and Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring 1992), pp. 2638, ‘Evreinov and Pirandello: Two Theatricalists in Search of the Main Thing’.

4 Fiebach, Joachim, ‘Brecht's “Straßenszene”. Versuch über die Reichweite eines Theatermodells’, Beiträge, Weimarer, 1978, 2, pp. 123–47.

5 Brecht, Bertolt, Arbeitsjournal. Vol. 1 (Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp, 1973), p. 204.

6 See note 2.

7 With the exception of Schramm's article which was specially written for this issue.

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I — Theatricality Introduction: Theatricality: A Key Concept in Theatre and Cultural Studies

  • Erika Fischer-Lichte (a1)


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