Private Readings/public Texts

Private Readings/public Texts

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In this volume, Kenneth Krauss maintains that if readers are to comprehend playscripts as plays, they must imagine the theatre audience - so vital to the staging of any script, but conspicuously absent from the text itself. Krauss examines what has been written about reading playscripts (or qplayreadingq) and proposes four possible ways, founded on a reception-oriented approach to theatre communication and spectator response, that playreaders may construct a sense of theatre audiences The study begins with a review of a varied collection of books and dissertations, written over the last forty-five years, all of which explicitly discuss playreading and exhibit only minor interest in the relationship between reader and theatre audience. The study next attempts to explain why writers more sympathetic to a reader-centered view of reading, notably reader-response critics, have avoided dramatic texts almost entirely. The study finds that both theoretical and institutional limitations have kept recent so-called audience-centered critics from the crucial issues related to reading playscripts. Drawing on play reading literature and on theatre reception theory, the study presents four spectator constructs which readers may deploy during the reading of playscripts. The first is what some, notably David Scanlan and Karen Laughlin, see as the qinscribedq audience (the rhetorical qhouseq implied by the playscript itself), which is in fact usually a projection of readers themselves. The second construct, originally proposed by Roger Gross, is the hypothetical audience which is significantly distinct from text and reader. The third and fourth, suggested by Kirsten Nigro, are the more specific actual or historical audience - which is based on hard data about real spectators - and the speculated audience, which focuses on either those who never come to see the play in question or those who actually did come but who must be imagined seeing the performance under different circumstances. These constructs are illustrated through four separate but related explorations of Jean Genet's Les Bonnes. The study offers a credible but highly subjective rhetorical reading and then develops a hypothetical approach which is (deliberately) flawed in part. The study then turns to the play's original staging and attempts to explain the negative responses of the actual spectators who attended the play's premiere run. Finally, in an attempt to speculate upon who might have comprised a better audience for Genet's play, the study concludes by inventing a restaging of the play in a different theatre, by different actors, under a different director, and by constructing a highly select and very appreciative house.For example, later in his essay, while focusing on romantic theory (or, as he calls it, aquot;expressive theoryaquot;), Valgamae ... in a cryptic or perhaps merely informal manner toward a connection of some importance for many reader-response critics.

Title:Private Readings/public Texts
Author: Kenneth Krauss
Publisher:Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press - 1993-01-01

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