Yinghui Zhao


BertoltBrecht’s, RolandBarthes’ and Hans-ThiesLehmann’s uses of “theexterior” reflect their emphaseson theatrical signifiers, whichoutlinesthe relationship between mimetic theatre and self-referential theatre. Brecht advocates “exterior” performance and thinksthat actors do not have to feel the same as characters, affirming the difference between the signifier (the imitator) and the signified (the imitated). However, he pursues“scientific truth” and a real similarity between the signifier and the signified through exterior performance. In Barthes’ study of theatre, the distance between the signifier and the signified is further widened. Barthes uses an exaggerated “exteriorization” to hollow out depth and uses external languages to stimulate the audience’s comprehensive perceptions, consideringdepth a hidden, powerful but imaginary ruler in the deep-seated, dualistic thinking. Lehmann believes that the most important feature of postdramatictheatre is that the signifier gets rid of the signified and obtains its self-referentiality. The signifier is not an imitation of the signified, but its own real presence. This transformation highlights the external communication system of theatre, allowing the audience to become participants rather than bystanders. His way of theatre reception is no longer conceptual understanding or interpretation, but perceptual experience.


mimesis, self-referentiality, “theexterior”, signifier, signified

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