Dictionary of the Theatre: Terms, Concepts, and Analysis


469 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-4342-9
DDC 792'.03




Translated by Christine Shantz
Reviewed by David E. Kemp

David E. Kemp, former drama professor at Queen’s University, is the
author of The Pleasures and Treasures of the United Kingdom.


Patrice Pavis, a brilliant academic and a leading expert in the theory
of theatre, has written a book that introduces the theoretical
vocabulary of semiotics into theatre studies.

There has always been tension between the world of literary and
cultural theory and the practical world of the theatre student who
aspires to be an actor, playwright, director, or technician. Most
theatre dictionaries present, with varying degrees of success, a mix of
historical and literary terms (comedy, deus ex machina), technical terms
(cyclorama, wings, fly gallery), and theatrical slang (ham, rant).

Pavis’s book retains the historical and literary terms but replaces
the technical and slang entries to incorporate some of the specialized
theoretical vocabulary that is now regularly employed by academics in
their writing about theatre. In this splendid reference work, Pavis also
seeks to examine major issues in dramaturgy, esthetics, hermeneutics,
semiology, and anthropology.

No department of drama or serious theatre student can afford not to own
this innovative, all-encompassing, and superbly written volume.


Pavis, Patrice., “Dictionary of the Theatre: Terms, Concepts, and Analysis,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/2423.