An Early Concept of the Theatre of Interplay: The Relevance of Branko Gavella’s Theory for the Development of Performance Philosophy

Sibila Petlevski


The aim of this paper is to contribute to the shift in the perception of Branko Gavella’s theoretical work based on the phenomenology of intersubjectivity, and to point to the relevance of his theory of acting for the autochthonous development of the European branch of the modern philosophy of performance, as an interdisciplinary filed of research different form the methods traditionally employed by aestheticians of theatre. This paperbased on several decades of work on the systematization and comparative contextualization of Gavella’s theoretical ouvremakes an attempt at demonstrating the operability of Gavella’s concepts in the context of some recent interdisciplinary insights into the performance phenomenon. Gavella’s theory can clearly distinguish concepts that we bracket today under the rubric of meaning, as opposed to use, i.e. language-reference, as opposed to speaker’s reference. Already in the 1930s, he applied the relation of semantics to pragmatics, as it would eventually be understood in speech act theory from Austin on, to the problems peculiar to theatre. The core of this paper deals with Gavella’s “speech situations”, and the dynamism of exchange in the relational space of culture.


acting; autopoiesis; communication; Gavella; intention; internal spectator; interplay; intersubjectivity; performance; phenomenology; social atmosphere speech situation; speech; structure; system

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