When used in common vernacular, the terminology of the medium of theatre—"theatricality," "drama," "performance," "acting," "scene," etc."”form a vocabulary of "ideographs" as defined by Michael Calvin McGee. My analysis reveals that common usage of theatrical terms is more than merely metaphorical; the "theatre," rather, is a fundamental orienting concept for defining lived experience—it is ideology. By viewing the use of theatrical language as ideological, and analyzing how such terms define situations rhetorically, we begin to reveal the underlying ideology upon which the medium of theatre operates, and which it unconsciously conveys. I demonstrate this claim by analyzing the argument made by the stage image (an example, I argue, of a theatrical ideograph) in a cinematic context. I examine the filmed record of John Gielgud's 1964 Broadway production of Hamlet, released theatrically as Richard Burton's Hamlet, and Kenneth Branagh's 1996 cinematic adaptation of Hamlet. I conclude by discussing how theatrical ideology should inform a re-evaluation of spectacle generally, as well as discussions in mass media, politics, and the public sphere.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Robertson, Jacob L., "Theatrical Ideology: Toward a Rhetoric Theatricality" (2009). Theses and Dissertations. 2092.
Theatre, rhetoric, theatricality, democracy, common vernacular, film, stage, stage image, filmed stage, media