chapter  6
Pages 4

Literary critics have usually implicitly or explicitly assumed the priority of the written play over the performance, the latter being more often than not described as a ‘realization’ (actual or potential) of the former. The written text constrains the performance in obvious ways-not only linguistically in determining what the actors say, and proairetically in establishing the structure of the action, but also, in varying degrees, across the range of theatrical codes by indicating movement, settings, music and the rest. Since, chronologically, the writing of the play precedes any given performance, it might appear quite legitimate to suppose the simple priority of the one over the other.