THE ACTOR'S FREEDOM: Toward a Theory of Drama by Michael Goldman

THE ACTOR'S FREEDOM: Toward a Theory of Drama

Email this review


In the beginning, Goldman says: ""this book proposes a new way of thinking about drama."" While it belittles the contributions of Aristotle, Nietzsche, Artaud, Eliot, Bergson, and the Cambridge anthropologists who studied ritual as drama, it doesn't add much to what we've learned from them. Adopting the posture of a critical David among the Philistines, he continues: ""I am afraid that much contemporary production and criticism. . . is an attempt to 'rescue' plays from a deadening literariness which often can be located squarely in the minds of the rescuers themselves."" Via Piaget, and a whole bag of socio-chic ideas, Goldman promises to provide clues not only for a non-literary theory of performance but even ""a poetics of the dramatic text."" To be fair, the arguments are not unintelligent--only unoriginal. The gist of it is that theater is a primal dialgoue between audience and actor in which the actor personifies the blasphemous/sacred freedom denied by the strictures of society. That's hardly an advance from ""arousing pity and terror, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis. . . ."" In the end, what might have been an innocuous inquiry into the nature of dramatic experience is brought low by its author's hubris.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1975
Publisher: Viking