Minimizing limitations associated with the spoken word in theatre through physicality: a theoretical exploration of physicality and theatre semiotics in selected theatre performances
Van den Berg, Ane
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This thesis aimed to create a semiotic framework of stagecraft technologies and a semiotic framework of physical theatre technologies to assist in overcoming the limitations of spoken language in theatre. The framework was used to evaluate four case studies. The proposed goal was to test whether and in what way the framework could be used in other theatre productions and art forms that use physical theatre for multilingual audiences. The study was conducted within the qualitative paradigm. By using the qualitative approach, the study aimed to postulate the impact that language barriers and limitations have on theatregoers/audience members during the viewing of a theatre production and how they make meaning of what is happening on stage in physical theatre productions. The study consisted of a combination of literary studies and case studies. Chapter 1 was an introduction and orientation to the topic. In Chapter 2 literature studies of physical theatre and theatre semiotics were done. From the literature studies, a combined framework was drawn in Chapter 3, and in Chapter 4 the four case studies were done, to test the framework. Chapter 5 concluded and reflected on the findings of the study. The proposed goal, to test whether and in what way the framework could be used in other theatre productions and art forms that use physical theatre for multilingual audiences, was reached by the evaluations made in the case studies. Through the study, the conclusion was reached that physical theatre techniques can be used as a purposeful means of communication which creates an equal and open platform for understanding one another in society, even though different backgrounds, cultures, and languages create barriers. Physicality and body language can meaningfully be used as communication without having any verbal communication. Through the study, one can thus conclude, through observation and evaluation through case studies, that the framework showed the little need for any spoken language to create meaning or messages. By finding this conclusion, the limitations of spoken language in theatre can be addressed accordingly and successfully, by using other methods of Primary communication to carry meanings and messages across to an audience. The study can be used as a template for testing other theatre productions, and the study can also be explored further and more in-depth in any aspects thereof.
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