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The Actor as Refusenik: Theatre Anthropology, Semiotics, and the Paradoxical Work of the Body.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter


Publication date2002
Host publicationNegotiating Cultures: Eugenio Barba and the Intercultural Debate
EditorsIan Watson
PublisherManchester: Manchester University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)0719061709
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

PublisherManchester: Manchester University Press

Bibliographic note

This chapter appears in a collection of essays by scholars from Bali, Denmark, Italy, Peru, UK and US, on the International School of Theatre Anthropology (ISTA), the organization dedicated to the comparative study of codified theatre practices from across the world. This critically examines the notion of Theatre Anthropology and Barba's take on interculturalism. Stewart's chapter examines specific practices at the seventh public session of ISTA hosted by the Centre for Performance Research at Brecon, Wales. It is the culmination of a much longer period working with and on Barba's methods. This has included working as Barba's assistant at Holsterbro on the production Itsi Bitsi, on translations for Odin, attending the Copenhagen ISTA, and applying the transcultural principles deduced by ISTA within his own professional work as a director and choreographer. Stewart places these transcultural principles in the context of poststructuralist theories of the sign. With Barba's agreement, Stewart identifies five transcultural principles (not the three noted in Barba's The Secret Art of the Performer or the four listed in his The Paper Canoe) and compares the effects of the application of those principles to Julia Kristeva's concept of intertextuality and Jacques Derrida's notion of diff'rance. Integral to this comparison is an analysis of the relation between bios (the 'pre-expressive work of the body') and logos ('the expressive meanings which that work can produce') in the creative gap which opens up, as a result of the application of the principles, between what the actor intends and what Barba guides the spectator to perceive. This chapter contributes to Theatre Anthropology, and to a general understanding of the body in performance. RAE_import_type : Chapter in book RAE_uoa_type : LICA