Erika Fischer-Lichte’s introduction to the discipline of Theatre and Performance Studies is a strikingly authoritative and wide ranging guide to the study of theatre in all of its forms. Its three-part structure moves from the first steps in starting to think about performance, through to the diverse and interrelated concerns required of higher-level study:
Part 1 – Central Concepts for Theatre and Performance Research – introduces the language and key ideas that are used to discuss and think about theatre: concepts of performance; the emergence of meaning; and the theatrical event as an experience shared by actors and spectators. Part 1 contextualizes these concepts by tracing the history of Theatre and Performance Studies as a discipline.
Part 2 – Fields, Theories and Methods – looks at how to analyse a performance and how to conduct theatre-historiographical research. This section is concerned with the ‘doing’ of Theatre and Performance Studies: establishing and understanding different methodological approaches; using sources effectively; and building theoretical frameworks.
Part 3 – Pushing Boundaries – expands on the lessons of Parts 1 and 2 in order to engage with theatre and performance in a global context. Part 3 introduces the concept of ‘interweaving performance cultures’; explores the interrelation of theatre with the other arts; and develops a transformative aesthetics of performance.
Case studies throughout the book root its theoretical discussion in theatrical practice. Focused accounts of plays, practitioners and performances map the development of Theatre and Performance Studies as an academic discipline, and of the theatre itself as an art form. This is the most comprehensive and sophisticated introduction to the field available, written by one of its foremost scholars.