Manufacturing authenticity : anonymous acting celebrities in Atalaya's production of Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba (2009)

Title: Manufacturing authenticity : anonymous acting celebrities in Atalaya's production of Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba (2009)
Source document: Theatralia. 2012, vol. 15, iss. 2, pp. 100-111
  • ISSN
    1803-845X (print)
    2336-4548 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

In this essay I first review the concepts of "stage figure" and "acting celebrity" as developed by Otakar Zich (and later, Jiří Veltruský) and Michael Quinn, respectively. I then propose the new term "anonymous acting celebrity." The concept of herecká postava (literally "figure of the actor," but frequently translated to English as "stage figure") was formulated by Zich who coined the concept of "stage figure" in his Aesthetics of the Dramatic Art (1931), and Veltruský first approached this idea in 1940 in his essay "Man and Object in the Theatre." In the 1970s, Veltruský also authored a rich corpus of essays that contained multiple references to the concept of stage figure. In his 1989 essay "Celebrity and the Semiotics of Acting", Michael Quinn adopted Veltruský's terminology in order to show to what extent the presence of charismatic actors may considerably affect the reception of a play – no matter the artistic plans of authors and/or directors. To illustrate my idea of the anonymous acting celebrity, I discuss a recent production of Federico García Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba by the Seville-based theatre group Atalaya. For this project, the director Pepa Gamboa recruited a group of local gypsy women who had no previous acting training. To explain the 'authenticity' effect of Atalaya's The House of Bernarda Alba, I develop the notion of "anonymous acting celebrity" as a way to uncover the numerous pragmatic implications that surrounded the collective reception of this production.
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