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Ritual Space As Theatrical Space In Jewish Folk Theatre

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Chapter Summary

The Jewish religion has mostly rejected frivolous types of celebration. According to Victor Turner's term for a creative, reflective leisure activity, the Purimspiel was a liminoid manifestation. Like other folk dramas, it preserved the dynamic liminal symbols of ritual. This chapter focuses on the spatial factor of the Purimspiel, as the locations of its performance were characterized by some basic elements of "environmental theater". The locations were not designated places of performance, yet by accepting the invading players who negotiated with them, these dynamic spaces became separated from the mundane world. The interaction between visiting performers and spectators created a shared, overlapping framework where the spectators were not just mute participants invited to attend an iconic space; through the home-based ritual, which repeats the original mythic act, performers and spectators became partners in creating the theatrical fiction, in which the present and the past merged in the very same space.

Keywords: environmental theater; folk dramas; home-based ritual; Jewish religion; mundane world; Purimspiel; spectators; Victor Turner



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