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    STUDIA DRAMATICA - Issue no. 2 / 2007  

Authors:  .
  Abstract:  This study entitled „Unity out of Distance. A Study in Method” approches the notion of the theatrical theory, analizing the position of the dramatic theoretician. In his 1954 lecture on the 175th anniversary of the Mannheim National Theater, Hans-Georg Gadamer connects, as he puts it, the “essence of theatre” with the “essence of celebration” viewing them both in the mirror of the other. The essence of theatre (of the theatre which the European middle classes created from the heritage of Greek theatre and transformed into a distinct and often unique celebration) is “the play produced in order to be viewed, and the agreement which serves as its basis, namely that the spectator goes to see the play, creating unity out of distance.” To participate to a performance means to be first removed, dislocated and then transformed. In the subsection “The Temporality of Aesthetic Phenomenon,” Gadamer describes in Truth and Method the theoretic attitude with the terms of “being there” and “participation”: “He who has been there at something knows entirely how it actually has been.” The syntagm “knows entirely” in fact questions conceptual apprehension, though not in the spirit of an extreme theoretic skepticism, but in order to keep the problem in motion. The performance suspends and makes us “forget” our knowledge or preconceptions that hold us back from participation, and transforms “contemplation” into “a true manner of participation”: “...the ability of the theoretic attitude means even to us as well that with regard to something we are able to forget our aims... Theory is true participation, it is not action but sufferance (pathos); in fact, it means that the spectacle captivates, takes hold of us. The religious background of the Greek concept of mind was recently explained by this.” Consequently, who is the [dramatic] theoretician? The word leads us back to the Greek theoros who is a “participant in the festival delegation. The partakers in the festival delegation do not have any qualification or role apart from being present at the event. The theoros is in the true sense of the word a viewer who is there at the ceremonial act and from this comes his sacredly legal distinction, for example, his inviolability.”

Keywords: theatre, theory, playwright
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