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Kroppens Kultur: Fysisk teater som begrepp, dess diskurs och status på teaterfältet.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, Musicology and Performance Studies.
2011 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This master’s thesis discusses the term physical theatre from a discourse point of view. It also focuses on aspects of power from a field theory perspective. The main theory used is Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory, and I try to apply this onto critical discourse analysis, mainly taken from Michel Foucault. The forms of physical theatre I focus on are mainly commedia dell’arte, theatre forms inspiredby Grotowski and Artaud, as well as mime, performance and contemporary circus. These are all theatre forms that focus especially on the body. My aim is to explore the status and discourse of physical theatre in Sweden today.

The thesis is divided into two main parts. First, I present research concerning empirical data, where I search for the term physical theatre, as well as other forms of describing these theatre forms, in magazines, theatre playlists, texts about theatre troups etc. The term physical theatre is not very common in these texts, it is often described as dance-theatre for example. It is also prominent that the view on what physical theatre is has changed, theatre forms which focus on the body and its expression have been incorporated into the major theatre field, and are no longer considered odd or different. Physical comedy, however, still stands out. Although it seems that it has become increasingly popular, it has somewhat moved away from the serious forms of physical theatre.

The second part of the thesis approaches the subject from a more theorising point of view, where the discussion itself is the main focus. I start off by discussing the term physical theatre and its aesthetics – how its meaning has changed from being something avant-garde to something that is considered “normal”. Thereafter I discuss the status of the physical theatre forms, and apply them onto Bourdieu’s field theory. Physical comedy has not yet acquired the status of ”high culture”, whereas the serious, more “arty” forms of physical theatre are on different positions in the theatre field, and even on the physical theatre field. I also discuss how this can be transferred to theories about popular culture, and the interesting things that happens when the once very popular, low-status theatre form commedia dell’arte is situated in a high culture theatre house, Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern, in Sweden. I continue to discuss marginalised forms of theatre from a sub-culturalperspective, fighting both against and inside the dominant culture to gain status in the theatre field. After this, I discuss how the physical theatre’s new discourse has changed because of the newly found interest in contemporary circus, research projects in universities as well as higher education in physical art forms. The conclusion is that the term physical theatre still can be useful to describe different forms of theatre, although it is quite vague and has changed significally.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 74 p.
Keyword [sv]
Fysisk teater, Bourdieu, fältteori, Foucault, clowning, nycirkus, diskurs, diskursanalys, fält, commedia dell'arte, kultur, kropp, performance, mim, estetik, komedi, status, identitet
National Category
Performing Arts
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-73924OAI: diva2:505305
Fine Art
Available from: 2012-02-23 Created: 2012-02-23 Last updated: 2012-02-23Bibliographically approved

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