The Story of Theatrical Lists

by Kerstin Fest

In the theatre we encounter stories, first and foremost those written by playwrights and acted out on stage. But there are also stories produced behind and beyond the stage.  Gaining awareness of these secondary stories and piecing them together helps one study and understand the theatre. These background stories are especially important when studying the theatre of the past considering that the more ephemeral elements of performances, such as actors’ body language, the audience’s reaction or just the overall atmosphere in the theatre on any given evening, are no longer readily accessible. There are, however, documents that offer some insight into the complex system of the theatre. Often these documents appear in the form of lists, and these lists allow us to reconstruct the secondary stories that convert plays into productions.

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