restricted access Narratology and Performativity: On Processes of Narrativization in Live Performances


This article argues that recipients can make sense of abstract and highly self-reflexive live performances when they try to narrativize them, i.e., read them as narratives. In performances, different sign systems convey narrative meaning to the spectators. Recipients have to take both acoustic and visual clues into consideration: apart from the dialogues, important sign systems are music, noises, silences, the choice of actors and actresses, facial expressions, gestures, costumes, colors, color combinations, lighting, and references to other narratives. Spectators narrativize performances by relating what they see and what they hear to specific narrative functions and by combining them into a coherent whole.