• Susan Melrose
Part of the New Directions in Theatre book series (NDT)


Beyond the constitution of the character-complex on which any conventional dramatic production depends (a postmodern critique might show precisely the contingent nature of this dependency), what we are looking for are the means to recognise and locate the writerly components which, in intersecting with the diverse ‘models of knowledge’ outlined above, provide the ‘dispositifs’ or grids or ‘enabling structures’, on the basis of which we can constitute the outlines of a stage ‘possible world’ (Eco, 1979, pp. 3–43). In the interrelationship between writerly and ‘other’ elements, we can localise in terms of a given production, in its socio-cultural context, what seems to have been the role of a dramatic input into a theatre relationship of felt-knowledges, capable of ordering both the given space and time of the fiction, and the interrelational space of theatre and the time of its event. Halliday is useful here, once again, because of his insistence on the ‘reality-creating’ nature of symbolic practice, in place of earlier and still-perpetuating notions in which symbolic practice is supposed to ‘reflect’, ‘express’, or neatly to ‘represent’ a pre-existing and independent ‘reality’. Where realities are conceptual and perspectival, implicating in them their perceivers, and hence dynamic, rather than fixed, representations both enact, and ’stand for’, complex conceptual reals. As a consequence the stage construct, processes and work are a ‘residue of a residue’ (more condensed?) of a perceived ‘real’, where the latter now seems already to be multiform, and internally divided.


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Copyright information

© S. F. Melrose 1994

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  • Susan Melrose

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