Theatre graphics and graphic theatre : Zich's semantics in posters and publicity

Source document: Theatralia. 2020, vol. 23, iss. 1, pp. 105-129
  • ISSN
    1803-845X (print)
    2336-4548 (online)
The essay employs the concept of the 'semantic image' as articulated by Czech aesthetician Otakar Zich in his book The Aesthetics of Dramatic Art in order to outline how theatre publicity relates to theatre production and performance. Theatre graphics, posters, and other promotional materials contain images that substitute or compensate for what is not to be seen and heard onstage in form of 'technical images'; thus, these graphics condition the 'representational images' of dramatic locations.1 Publicity images can be also used to manipulate imagery associations related to actors as well as dramatic characters in order to facilitate their desired reception. This article focuses on the posters produced for Prague's National Theatre opera production of Tramvestie (2019) and two stagings of Peter Shaffer's Equus (1973, 2007) along with Alphonse Mucha's posters for Sarah Bernhardt.
  • These early-stage findings were presented at the conference Perspektivy teatrologie 3 organised by the Theatre Research Society (Czechia) in Brno on May 2019. The paper is a part of doctoral candidature at the Department of Aesthetics (Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University), under the supervision of Professor Petr Osolsobě. I also want to gratefully acknowledge comments by Tomáš Kačer, Svitlana Shurma, Daniel Sampey, and Markéta Kulhánková, as well as the courtesy of Michael Diamond and Drew Hodges, who provided the licenses for the respective images.
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