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Introduction to the Theory of Stage

The analysis of the phenomenon of theatrical representation leads us to suppose that our experience of the apparition of another human being is always mediated by a certain scenic precomprehension: by his action an acting, speaking human being opens up a dimension of representation, a stage (scène), which also enables the artistic representation of that action. In the history of philosophy the human figure has a priviledged position, for it is only within its limits that it is possible to establish a connection between the ideal and the sensible, the inside and the outside, on which depends the whole metaphysical and symbolic order. For the same reason action on stage has always posed a serious problem to Western metaphysics. If that tradition is considered from the theatrical point of view, different philosophical enterprises to theorize human apparition can be analyzed as different theories of stage. The first and the most influential one is met with Plato, who founds that apparition on the presence of the human figure. Specifically, all interpretations of tragedy that put emphasis on the sublime effect and on the sacrificial act are based on this kind of eidetic theory of stage. In Aristotle, the effort to critisize tragedy on theoretical basis ends up to a certain mise en scene of the theoretical attitude itself. A theory of stage, better in harmony with the conditions of theatrical representation, should be able to surpass the paradigm of the presence of the human figure and to indicate the connection between the phenomenon of human action and the transcendental structure of our experience, beyond the metaphysics of presence.