Comic Business: Theatricality, Dramatic Technique, and Performance Contexts of Aristophanic Comedy

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Comic Business situates Aristophanic comedy in the context of competitive (re)performance culture in 5th- and 4th-century Greece. It seeks to illuminate how the dazzling busyness of Aristophanic comedy is the creation of a carefully manipulating craftsman trying to outdo his rivals in the fierce competition of the dramatic festivals. Theoretically informed by theatre semiotics and frame-based models of conceptualizing the theatrical event, it analyses in a number of case studies how theatrical resources of all kinds are utilized in order to generate theatrical meaning as well as capture and sustain audience interest. The approach therefore combines philological analysis with methodologies developed in Theatre Studies. Special attention is given to the visual dimension of theatrical communication. Material from comparator traditions is brought to bear, as is the evidence of the pictorial record.