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Title: Reading Richard Schechner : allegories of performance
Author: Hammer, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0001 3528 8153
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1998
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'Reading Richard Schechner' explores the theatre, theory, and academic leadership of a key figure in American theatre studies, engaging critically with Schechner's contributions, in order to assess their value for future theatre research. Chapter One considers how Schechner's theatre participated in social change and situates Schechner's analogy of theatre to ritual within an avant-garde theatrical tradition. Chapter Two models Schechner's career in terms of a singular performance project which moves from its early focus on theatre production, through performance theory, leading finally to his leadership of Performance Studies as an institutionally validated area. I examine the interplay between Schechner's theatre and his growing interest in anthropology, identifying the ways in which anthropological discourse supported his authority as a theatrical auteur. These chapters include case studies of his productions Dionysus in 69 and The Tooth of Crime. Chapter Three develops the relation between creative authorship and academic authority by introducing two key concepts. Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu's concept of symbolic capital characterises the rewards for successful and authoritative authorship which, I argue, Schechner has pursued. Allegory articulates the historical relation between creative authorship and socially empowered authority. The logic of Schechner's performance paradigm is analysed as an allegorical structure, following Joel Fineman's definition. Chapter Four concentrates on the ways in which, over time, Schechner has repositioned theatre as subordinate to the broad spectrum he defines as performance. I give grounds for rejecting Schechnerian performance as a viable paradigm for theatre's study. Furthermore, I reinterpret it as an enterprising intermedia arts project aiming to disrupt the institution from within. To deauthorise Schechnerian performance in this way is also to reauthorise it, by returning its ostensibly objective structures to their origin in creative acts. To this end, I conclude by sketching a portrait of Richard Schechner as an author of avant-garde theatre and theory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature ; Mass media ; Performing arts