Dionysus and eros: the shape of intimacy in theatrical conceiving
This study offers a theory of theater by way of an exploration of the role of metaphor in theatrical conceiving. Its focus is on the ways in which theater joins together its worlds---linguistic, optic, acoustic, and so on---and on the ways in which those worlds are themselves built from metaphor. Finally, this study explores the sense of life and value implied in the ways these joinings are made."The Establishment of Principles," section provides a critical orientation, outlining and defining the main terms of the discussion, and providing theoretical ground for the analytical work that follows. Within this section, theater as a "Fiction" is explored, moving it away from stock notions of truth and the language of verisimilitude. The essay on "Metaphor" provides an historical discussion of metaphor theory, and outlines a unique theory of metaphor based on the notions of participation, identification, organization, innovation, and intimacy. The closing essay of this section, "Intimacy," extends theories of empathy to focus instead on how intimacy---whether it be an intimacy established in a work, in its reception, or in its cultural use---alerts us to the ways in which we share in the humanity of others.The "Poetic Logic" section is an analytical exploration of four theatrical examples, each preceded by a brief essay on a particular poetic or fictive category: (1) Conflict and ancient Greek theatrical conceiving; (2) Play and postmodern cinematic conceiving; (3) Gesture and Romantic theatrical conceiving; and, (4) Style and Baroque theatrical conceiving.The conclusion offers not the culmination of a grand theory, but a hortatory call for the enlargement of our capacity to see, feel, hear, think, and act with respect to the theater and dramatic art. It claims that dramatic art is about creative generation, about coupling, and about experiencing the linking of our selves to another "living" thing or other "living" things, including the products of metaphor, and makes a case for nominating Eros, rather than Dionysus, as the patron deity of the theater.
- Drama