Course description: “How Theatre Means” is focused, not on the interpretation of theatre and performance, but on how theatre and performance produce meaning. It begins with structuralist semiotics and the work of Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Peirce, and moves through a number of primary readings in performance analysis that have been deeply influenced by the semiotic approach, but are not limited to structuralist purities or masteries. Students will study and report on these readings, explore in class how political gendered, cultural, and embodied performance communicate meaning in theatrical space and time and in the spaces and interactions between performers and audiences, and will develop their own analyses of theatrical or social performances that draw upon them.
The theatre that this course is grounded in is self-consciousness, your own methods. What are the implications? What does it mean?
However, meaning isn’t the only thing that theatre does.