Imitation of Life: Structure, Agency and Discourse in Theatrical Performance

Journal of Critical Realism 11 (3):324-360 (2012)

This essay reviews Theatre, Communication, Critical Realism (2010) by Tobin Nellhaus. It begins by outlining the objective of the book and proceeds to evaluate its central argument. The objective is to develop a theory of theatre founded on the premises of critical realism and thereby theoretically situate theatrical performance in its socio-cultural matrix. The argument is that critical realism is effective for developing a comprehensive account of theatrical performance because it has the capacity to reveal truths about the structure of social reality (that correspond to those articulated by critical realism). In the second part of the review, employing the methods of conceptual analysis, I propose that Nellhaus’s thesis of ‘ontological doubling’ (which claims that performance doubles human agency) is undermined by certain epistemological presuppositions regarding the ontology of fictional characters
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DOI 10.1558/jcr.v11i3.324
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Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Word and Object.W. V. Quine - 1960 - MIT Press.

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