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The Text-Performance Relation in Theater

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Abstract

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.

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