Towards the origins of Performance: Samuel Beckett

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Among the fundamental models that have most influenced contemporary theatrical practice, Samuel Beckett clearly occupies a prominent place. His example is of paramount importance for the trend towards the conception of performance that favours the actor’s experience of being on stage before the audience at the expense of the narrative and mimetic elements, and of the canonical conventions regarding duration, characters and a plot that has to be unfolded. With a useful comparison with performance art and artists and theatre theorists and an emphasis on Beckett’s true medium of theatrical expression, the body, the essay highlights how prophetic as well as influential Beckett’s radical exploration of the expressive potential of the body on stage, at the limit of “torture”, has been. The argument is developed by following Josett’s Feral’s scheme of three distinctive features of contemporary performance which the author shows are central to Beckett’s theatre: the manipulation of the body, the manipulation of space and the relation between the artist and the audience
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)21-26
Numero di pagine6
RivistaComunicazioni Sociali
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014


  • history of theatre
  • performance
  • samuel beckett
  • storia del teatro


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