The Play of Space
Spatial Transformation in Greek Tragedy
By (author) Rush Rehm
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Play of Space by Rush Rehm
Book DescriptionIs "space" a thing, a container, an abstraction, a metaphor, or a social construct? This much is certain: space is part and parcel of the theater, of what it is and how it works. In The Play of Space, noted classicist-director Rush Rehm offers a strikingly original approach to the spatial parameters of Greek tragedy as performed in the open-air theater of Dionysus. Emphasizing the interplay between natural place and fictional setting, between the world visible to the audience and that evoked by individual tragedies, Rehm argues for an ecology of the ancient theater, one that "nests" fifth-century theatrical space within other significant social, political, and religious spaces of Athens. Drawing on the work of James J. Gibson, Kurt Lewin, and Michel Foucault, Rehm crosses a range of disciplines--classics, theater studies, cognitive psychology, archaeology and architectural history, cultural studies, and performance theory--to analyze the phenomenology of space and its transformations in the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. His discussion of Athenian theatrical and spatial practice challenges the contemporary view that space represents a "text" to be read, or constitutes a site of structural dualities (e.g., outside-inside, public-private, nature-culture). Chapters on specific tragedies explore the spatial dynamics of homecoming ("space for returns"); the opposed constraints of exile ("eremetic space" devoid of normal community); the power of bodies in extremis to transform their theatrical environment ("space and the body"); the portrayal of characters on the margin ("space and the other"); and the tragic interactions of space and temporality ("space, time, and memory"). An appendix surveys pre-Socratic thought on space and motion, related ideas of Plato and Aristotle, and, as pertinent, later views on space developed by Newton, Leibniz, Descartes, Kant, and Einstein. Eloquently written and with Greek texts deftly translated, this book yields rich new insights into our oldest surviving drama.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691058092
(229mm x 152mm x 25mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 6-May-2002
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Rush Rehm
Understanding Greek Tragic Theatre, Paperback (July 2016)
"Understanding Greek Tragic Theatre, a revised edition of Greek Tragic Theatre (1992), is intended for those interested in how Greek tragedy works. By analysing the way the plays were performed in fifth-century Athens, Rush Rehm encourages classicists, actors, and directors to approach Greek tragedy by considering its original context." --
Radical Theatre, Hardback (June 2003)
Why should Greek tragedy matter now? This book opens a dialogue between the tragic theatre in ancient Athens and the multiple performances of the modern world.
Marriage to Death, Paperback (January 1997)» View all books by Rush Rehm
This study considers why the fusion of wedding and funeral ceremonies comes to theatrical life in the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. By focusing on the dramatization of important rituals conducted by women in ancient Athenian society, it offers a new perspective on Greek tragedy.
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Author Biography - Rush Rehm
Rush Rehm is Associate Professor of Drama and Classics at Stanford University and a freelance theater director. He is the author of Marriage to Death (Princeton) and Greek Tragic Theater.
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