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Reviews Del actor medieval a nuestros días. Actas del seminario celebrado los días 30 de octubre al 2 de noviembre de 1996, con motivo del IV Festival de Teatre i Música Medieval d'Elx. Ed. Josep Lluís Sirera. EIx: Institut Municipal de Cultura, 2001. 214 pp. No ISBN Teatro medieval, teatro vivo. Actas del seminario celebrado del 28 al 31 de octubre 1998, con motivo del V Festival de Teatre i Música Medieval d'Elx. Ed.Josep Lluís Sirera. EIx: Institut Municipal de Cultura, 2001. 283 pp. No ISBN These proceedings from the fourth and fifth Festivales de Teatre i Música Medieval d'Elx represent a substantial contribution to the growing body of research on the medieval theater. The 1996 Actas describes actors and acting in the Middle Ages from a variety of perspectives. The most extensive and informative of the essays, Evangelina Rodriguez Cuadros's "Del histrión medieval al actor barroco: La rehabilitación del gesto" (15-47), traces the changing styles of acting across the centuries. Like several other contributors , she ascribes the medieval contempt for actors to the free, often grotesque, use of the human body for entertainment. Eventually the exaggerated and disorderly style of the mimi and histriones yielded in the liturgical drama to a carefully orquestrated series of symbolic gestures and in secular recitations to socially determined movements. With the Renaissance actors incarnated the characters, using their bodies to express emotions in a style that anticipates the Stanislavsky method. A second technique was based on the concept of decorum that anticipates Diderot. Both these styles were endorsed by baroque theoreticians like Alonso López Pinciano (1596). In "El arte del actor en la cultura medieval" (51-63) Federico Doglio laments the incompleteness of Aristotle's Poetics, notes Horace's recommendation that actors lose themselves in their roles, and quotes Tertulian's allegation that actors are in the clutches of the devil. Their rehabilitation began already in the Carolingian Renaissance when singers and musicians were distinguished from scurrilous entertainers who performed with their La CORC)NiCA 31.2 (Spring, 2003): 327-33 328ReviewsLa corónica 31.2, 2003 bodies. In the thirteenth century Geoffroi de Vinsauf included the art of recitation in his Poetria Nova (1208-1216). In "Valores visuales del actor medieval" (67-71) Rafael Maestre explains how religious symbolism restricts the freedom of actors and directors by shaping the scaffolding, araceli (aerial lift), costumes and gestures. For example , the funereal mask worn by the actor impersonating the Virgin conceals her face and camouflages her pain since according to Church doctrine she died "sin dolor, como dormida" (71). Josep Lluís Sirera's "Els atitors de teatre híspante a l'edat mitjana i la construcció de Tactor ideal" (103-119) underscores the differences between medieval thespians and modern professional actors. In the secular drama the social conventions of courtly love limited the actors' creativity, but in the religious theater the performers cast as devils or monsters moved and gesticulated wildly because evil was associated with the ugly, the grotesque, and the ridiculous. In "Juglares, actores y bufones: La invasión del espacio teatral en los siglos XV y XVI" (123-40) Alfredo Hermenegildo states that the paid professional actor did not emerge until the sixteenth century when social conditions were favorable. In the liturgical drama the participants were not actors since they were controlled "por unas normas ajenas y exteriores al hecho dramático mismo" (125). In the fifteenth century Miguel Lucas de Iranzo was both author and actor as real space and theatrical space converged. This blending , I might add, also occurred in the politically motivated Farsa de Avila (1465) where the unpopular Enrique IV of Castile was deposed in effigy and his brother Alonso, who played himself, took his place (see Mackay). Encina too merged theater and reality whereas in the second half of the sixteenth century Lope de Rueda perceived actors and characters as inhabiting separate worlds. Paola Ventrone reviews the condemnation of actors in "La definizione professionale dell'attore nell'Italia del Rinascimento" (143-53), stressing the privileged position of those performers who recited poetic texts. Their fine diction placed them in...


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