Play, theatre and performance
in Jacques Rivette
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At the elaborate summit of the concept of jeu, 'playing', 'play', it seems inevitable that we will find ourselves dealing with the theatre. It is the theatre which, hardly by chance, has been a controversial partner and rival of cinema since the newer art began. Rivette's 'theatre films' may be seen as attempts to explore and genuinely subvert this (inescapable) founding geography of cinema, and its concomitant distribution of roles to all persons present, in the process opening the separate, ritual world of performance to a dynamic and uncertain interaction with what is outside it. Thus these theatre troupes conflate actors, audience and all other persons present during the performance event into a general notion of self-aware participants in a process of creation, reflecting in this again the preoccupations of the experimental theatre in the mid-twentieth century.

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