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Looking up secrets: definitions, narrative and pragmatism in A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology: the Secret Art of the Performer

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Eugenio Barba's particular brand of theatre anthropology has attracted a sustained and often impassioned criticism. Yet his and Nicola Savarese's seminal book, A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology: the Secret Art of the Performer, is a bestseller. This key text has recently been published in a second edition, which adds more illustrations, three new chapters and an index and bibliography to the book. In this article, I extend my consideration of the International School of Theatre Anthropology in Studies in Theatre and Performance, 25: 2, to consider the criticism of Barba's work, and assess its dissemination, authorship and meaning as exemplified in the new edition of the Dictionary, before reflecting on the practical uses of the new publication.

Keywords: Eugenio Barba; Nicola Savarese; Phillip Zarrilli; pre-expressive; theatre anthropology; transcultural

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/stap.26.2.147/1

Affiliations: University of Hull.

Publication date: July 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Studies in Theatre and Performance is a peer-reviewed journal which fosters a progressive forum to explore the nuances of theatre practice. The journal provides a critical scope to include other related disciplines in its scrutiny of the stage, exploring the interplay between performance, audience and dramatic practice.
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