Drawing on a letter from Late Antiquity explaining the difficulties experienced by a performer who recently converted to Christianity, the article explores the religious, juridical, and literary perspectives required to read this kind of source. By analysing the Christian polemic against theatrical performance and the Christian anthropology of choreutic gesture, it underlines that the connotation attributed to the profession of actor/dancer/performer inevitably conflicted with the entire Christian theoretical framework of performance, which only allowed forms of exhibition in which men acted on the world’s stage before God. Consequently, anyone who converted to Christianity had to stop practising the profession forthwith because members of the vita scaenica belonged to another reality excluded from the Christianised Platonic framework of the choreia.

To Be or Not to Be Part of the vita scaenica. Religious and Juridical Perspectives on the Status of Dancers and Performers in Late Antiquity

Donatella Tronca
2021

Abstract

Drawing on a letter from Late Antiquity explaining the difficulties experienced by a performer who recently converted to Christianity, the article explores the religious, juridical, and literary perspectives required to read this kind of source. By analysing the Christian polemic against theatrical performance and the Christian anthropology of choreutic gesture, it underlines that the connotation attributed to the profession of actor/dancer/performer inevitably conflicted with the entire Christian theoretical framework of performance, which only allowed forms of exhibition in which men acted on the world’s stage before God. Consequently, anyone who converted to Christianity had to stop practising the profession forthwith because members of the vita scaenica belonged to another reality excluded from the Christianised Platonic framework of the choreia.
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Donatella Tronca
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/840681
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