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by Archaeology Newsroom

Periodicities and structural relations in the history of the theatre

By defining theatre not only as the shelter for theatrical performances, but also as a socio-spatial structure ( of which architectural forms, dramatized world-views and ideas, different ways of presentation and the social impact of each spectacle all play an active part), this paper discerns four ‘phases-types”, which, repeated twice in a spiral evolution, characterize the while history of the Western Theatre. These “types” are: 1. Ritualistic Symbolism, 2. Realism, 3. Naturalism, 4. Aesthetic Symbolism. From the primitive theatre to classical antiquity, the Roman period and the stage platforms of the Middle Ages and, again, from the ecclesiastical dramas of the 11th century to the Elizabethan stage, the magic box of the baroque stage and the modern abstraction or the “happenings” of our own time, the above four “types “ regularly succeed one another – in their general and structural features. The explanation put forward for this double reappearance is based on the survival of some deep ideological conceptions through a series of economical or political changes, and the strong relation of these conceptions to the nature and position of the theatre within social life.