THE SECRET ART OF THE PERFORMER
Full Title: THE SECRET ART OF PERFORMER A DICTIONARY OF THEATRE ANTHROPOLOGY
Authors: Eugenio Barba, Nicola Savarese
Dateof edition: 1991
Depicted black color
Dictionary Of Theatre Anthropology – The Secret Art of the Performer subtly juxtaposes the visual demonstrations of the performer’s craft, from a wealth of Oriental and Occidental sources, to uncover knowledge of action in the heightened context of performance – from combat to religion and ritual. Whereas most Western research is concerned with naturalism and psychological realism in acting, the Dictionary focuses on the performer’s arduous and eclectic craft.
More than just a dictionary, however, this is a handbook for theatre practitioners and a guide for students and scholars of transcultural performance. It is a result of ten years’ research conducted by Eugenio Barba and the International School of Theatre Anthropology (ISTA) based in Denmark. ISTA works with practitioners of theatre and dance from the major Occidental and Oriental traditions to study the underlying principles of the performer’s technique. It aims to expand our knowledge of the possibilities of the scenic body, and of the spectator’s response to the dynamics of performance. The Dictionary has practical sections on balance, opposition and montage among other techniques, and discusses other issues including The Text and the Stage, The Dilated Body, and Energetic Language.
The visual essay of photographs, drawings and diagrams which runs parallel to the text is skillfully constructed to compliment the textual argument. The result is not only a lavishly illustrated sourcebook on Western and non-Western theatre – much of it until now little known – but an inspiring tribute to the secret art of the performer.
was born in southern Italy in 1936 and emigrated to Norway in 1954 where he worked as a welder and sailor. From 1960-64 he studied theatre in Poland, spending three years with Jerzy Grotowski and writing the first book about him. In 1963, after a journey to India, he published a long essay on Kathakali, a theatre form which had not previously been studied in the West. He founded Odin Teatret in Oslo in 1964. He was awarded an M.A. in French and Norwegian Literature and History of Religions at Oslo University in 1965. In Denmark in 1979 he founded ISTA, the International School of Theatre Anthropology, and was awarded Ph.D. honoris causa in philosophy from the University of Arhus in 1988.
He has directed the following productions with Odin Teatret: The Birdlovers (1965), Kaspariana (1967), Ferai (1969), My Father’s House (1972), Come! And the day will be ours (1976), Anabasis (1977), The Million (1979), Brecht’s Ashes (1982), The Oedipos Story (1984), Marriage with God (1984), The Gospel According to Oxyrhincus (1985), Judith (1987), Talabot (1988), The Castle of Holstebro (1990).
was born in Rome in 1945. He teaches History of Theatre and Performance at the University of Lecce. He is among those theatre scholars who combine research into the past with a direct participation in performance life. His studies deal with both the theatre of the Italian Renaissance and the complex dynamic of the meetings between Asian theatres and Occidental theatre. He has travelled widely in the Orient and particularly in Japan, where he lived for two years. On the relationship between Oriental and Occidental theatres he has published, among many other works, II teatro al di là del mare (The Theatre Beyond the Sea – Turin, 1980) and Teatro e spettacolo fra Oriente e Occidente (Theatre and Performance
between East and West – Bari, 1989).