Vol. 9 No. 3 (2020): The Shared Communicative Act of Theatrical Texts in Performance: A Relevance Theoretic Approach

Anne Furlong (University of Prince Edward Island)

This article adopts a relevance theoretic approach to meaning making in theatrical texts and performances. Theatrical texts communicate immediately to multiple audiences: readers, actors, directors, producers, and designers. They communicate less directly to the writer’s ultimate audience –the playgoer or spectator –through the medium of performance. But playgoers are not passive receptacles for interpretations distilled in rehearsal, enacted through performance, or developed in study and reflection. Rather, in the framework of communication postulated by relevance theory, the audience is an active participant in making meaning. I will briefly review a range of approaches to meaning making in theatre, and then outline my view of a relevance theoretic account of the vital contributions of the audience in constructing the interpretation of performance, treating it as a communicative act

Published: 2020-07-12