Richard Schechner Essays On Performance Theory

He founded The Performance Group of New York in 1967 and was its artistic director until 1980, when TPG changed its name to The Wooster Group.

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Taking a cue from Erving Goffman's 1959 breakthrough book, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, I sensed that performances in the broad sense of that word were coexistent with the human condition.He described Terry's "Viet Rock" as "Elizabethan in scope and tone." Plays, Schechner maintained, should be "wrought" rather than "written" - and he implied that Shakespeare "wrought" large at the turn of the seventeenth century by working closely with London's burgeoning theatrical companies.Schechner sought to emulate this technique in the late sixties with his Performance Group.While in New Orleans from 1960–67, Schechner was a producing director with John O'Neal and Gilbert Moses of the Free Southern Theater (1963–65) and a founding director with Franklin Adams and Paul Epstein of the New Orleans Group (1964–67).Schechner was instrumental in identifying many exceptional writers, including Sam Shepard, Jean-Claude Van Itallie, Murray Mednick, Ronald Tavel and Canadian-trained Megan Terry, whose techniques he compared to Shakespeare.He founded The Performance Group and East Coast Artists.His theatre productions include Dionysus in 69, Commune, The Tooth of Crime, Mother Courage and Her Children, Seneca's Oedipus, Faust/gastronome, Three Sisters, Hamlet, The Oresteia, Yokasta S, Swimming to Spalding, and Imagining O.His books include Public Domain, Environmental Theater, Performance Theory, The Future of Ritual, Between Theater and Anthropology, Performance Studies: An Introduction, and Performed Imaginaries.As of 2018, his books have been translated into 18 languages.Schechner combines his work in performance theory with innovative approaches to the broad spectrum of performance including theatre, play, ritual, dance, music, popular entertainments, sports, politics, performance in everyday life, order to understand performative behavior not just as an object of study, but also as an active artistic-intellectual practice.


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