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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Although recent years have seen the emergence of sustained research on experimental music theater, most of this is largely of a descriptive nature. To address the shortcomings of such approaches, this chapter outlines a theory of experimental music theater based on a clear definition and a number of constitutive features. A number of theoretical terms from the fields of performance theory and theater practice are introduced, namely “showing doing” (Richard Schechner), “non-matrixed performance” and “non-matrixed representation” (Michael Kirby), and “metaxis” (Augusto Boal). The analytical effectiveness of this theoretical framework is demonstrated by discussion of case studies drawn both from the “classics” of experimental music theater (John Cage, Mauricio Kagel) and from recent work (Christopher Fox, David Bithell, Trond Reinholdtsen).

Keywords: experimental music theater, showing doing, non-matrixed performance, non-matrixed representation, metaxis, John Cage, Mauricio Kagel, Christopher Fox, David Bithell, Trond Reinholdtsen

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