chapter  3
THEATRICAL COMMUNICATION: CODES, SYSTEMS AND THE PERFORMANCE TEXT
Pages 58

Theatrical signification is not reducible to a set of one-to-one relationships between single sign-vehicles and their individual meanings. If it were possible to break down the performance text into atomic units of meaning, the task of analysing theatrical semiosis would be elementary, but by the same token the performance itself would be scarcely more than a parade of items to which the audience has merely to assign fixed values. The production of meaning on stage is too rich and fluid to be accounted for in terms of discrete objects and their representational roles. An adequate account must be able to identify the range of sign repertories making up what might be termed the theatrical system of systems; to explain the internal (syntactic) relations of each and the inter-relations between systems; and to make explicit the kinds of rules which allow meaning to be communicated and received in the performer-spectator dialectic. The semiotician of theatre, in brief, will be equally concerned with modes of signification and with the resulting acts of communication and will wish to provide a model that accounts for both.