chapter  2
FOUNDATIONS: SIGNS IN THE THEATRE
Pages 24

The year 1931 is an important date in the history of theatre studies. Until that time dramatic poetics-the descriptive science of the drama and theatrical performance-had made little substantial progress since its Aristotelian origins. The drama had become (and largely remains) an annexe of the property of literary critics, while the stage spectacle, considered too ephemeral a phenomenon for systematic study, had been effectively staked off as the happy hunting ground of reviewers, reminiscing actors, historians and prescriptive theorists. That year, however, saw the publication of two studies in Czechoslovakia which radically changed the prospects for the scientific analysis of theatre and drama: Otakar Zich’s Aesthetics of the Art of Drama and Jan Mukařovský’s ‘An Attempted Structural Analysis of the Phenomenon of the Actor’.