The Text-Performance Relation in Theater



This essay is a survey of positions on the relation between texts and performances in theater. It proposes a simple framework within which to compare and evaluate these positions. The framework also allows us to see a pattern of thinking that reflects the historical fact of the importance of the literary tradition in theater. The essay points out certain challenges facing the positions surveyed and concludes with a brief sketch of the most recent views that have been put on offer. The latest positions re-situate the literary theater as a species of the more general phenomena of theatrical performance.