Ancient Greek and Contemporary Performance
By (author) Graham Ley
Publication date:26 March 2015
Length of book:284 pages
PublisherUniversity of Exeter Press
This collection of published and unpublished essays connects antiquity with the present by debating the current prohibiting conceptions of performance theory and the insistence on a limited version of ‘the contemporary’.
The theatre is attractive for its history and also for its lively present. These essays explore aspects of historical performance in ancient Greece, and link thoughts on its significance to wider reflections on cultural theory from around the world and performance in the contemporary postmodern era, concluding with ideas on the new theatre of the diaspora.
Each section of the book includes a short introduction; the essays and shorter interventions take various forms, but all are concerned with theatre, with practical aspects of theatre and theoretical dimensions of its study. The subjects range from ancient Greece to the present day, and include speculations on the origin of ancient tragic acting, the kinds of festival performance in ancient Athens, how performance is reflected in the tragic scripts, the significance of the presence of the chorus, technology and the ancient theatre, comparative thinking on Greek, Indian and Japanese theory, a critique of the rhetoric of performance theory and of postmodernism, reflections on modernism and theatre, and on the importance of adaptation to theatre, studies of the theatre and diaspora in Britain.
‘[. . . ] the work is a landmark contribution to theatre studies, and actors, directors, and readers of Greek theatre will find many valuable insights within the covers of this book.’
Lauren Friesen, University of Michigan-Flint, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Volume 32, Number 1, Fall 2017
‘To have such a diverse set of essays by such an astute and careful thinker gathered in one volume offers the theatre/performance scholar a box of intellectual treats with a long shelf-life.’ Professor Phillip Zarrilli, University of Exeter
'This collection of essays by Graham Ley covers over thirty years of scholarly research and reflection upon key questions in the field of performance and offers an impressive range both historically... and geographically.' (Marvin Carlson, Studies in Theatre and Performance, 35.2, 2015)