Lascombes, André
July 1994
Medieval English Theatre;1994, Vol. 16, p10
Academic Journal
The paper summarizes, to begin with, the conclusions of an analysis of the stance of the spectator, upon which the following argument rests. It aims to instance various categories and sub-categories of the main strategies of ‘showing’ (l’ostension), be they in the act of writing drama, or of staging it. The provisional typology offered here is purely descriptive of the factors apparently brought into play. These procedures range from the combined use of scope and focus to various underscoring techniques, such as deixis; the accumulation or repetition of cognate elements related to one channel or system; conversely, the physical suppression, or ‘blanking’ (desemiotising) of sign-vehicles or aspects of them. In order to stimulate the spectator’s deciphering activity, they may even entail breaking, in various ways, the bond that experience establishes between object and significance, or sign and reference. One last category of strategies of ‘showing’ consists in altering the rapport between spectacle and spectator by such constructional devices as suspension of dialogue, split-scenes, eavesdropping scenes, or dramatic embedding (‘insets’). It is hoped this tentative description will generate debate and counter propositions.


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