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Beyond the signifier and the signified in theater.

Signifier and signified - are indeed the concepts that dominate human approach of analyzing and evaluating objects in the society resulting into a stereotypical process of nomenclature i.e. the naming system by which we commonly construe or understand the nature of things and accept or reject them as per our own convenience. Eventually, the outcome of this mundane repetitive procedure is a perfunctory routine that occludes the cognitive capabilities of our brain turning it into a regulated machine that operates as per societal norms of labeling objects as per its notions of utility. As a result, we have not a well scrutinized mode of identifying things or products manufactured in the human world but a system based on static cataloging founded on the principles of categories primarily formed as per the societal doctrines formulated through majority. This majority very conveniently excludes exceptions that may include the scope of disagreements and this is the basic cause of the fundamental inequality that is often observed in terms of privileging one over the other; a common characteristic of the material human world. This unequal structure pays little attention to the uncanny or iconoclast or maverick details that contain the scope of anomaly in them. There is a constant endeavor to reject 'the difference' and a promulgation of similarity that promotes the idea of cultivating a 'mindset' which is used to identifying things as per its 'fixed set of knowledge' originating from the idea of the sign for the thing signified. Therefore, BRAND NAMES given by us to objects become so firmly entrenched into our psyche that we are unable to welcome any sort of alteration in our understanding of the world beyond the stagnant labels that we choose or rather have chosen to give them. It is this myopic, very parochial habit of us humans that has made us indulge into a process of self-quarantine wherein we have enclosed ourselves into a closed sphere of dos and don'ts that seldom do we realize we need to liberate ourselves from. It is not the pandemic alone that has brought us to the necessity of quarantine. The covid epidemic brought us the need to physically quarantine ourselves in the four walls of our homes. But, mental quarantine has been ever since we identified the codes of language and formulated our ways of classifying things, phenomena of this world. Let us understand that language is a human construct and not a divinely ordained principle wherein a tree cannot be called a dog and vice versa. This understanding may bring us to acknowledging the need to try and comprehend this world from a point of view that's distinct from our fixed viewpoints and this holds immense possibilities to counter the threat of inequality in the human society. If we do not label things as unchangeable BRANDS and reconsider their importance independent of our linguistic constructs that trains our minds to absorb the same as invincible rule emerging out of a pre-designed LOGOS which is the answer for all our queries, we will stop looking for answers and instead accept this world in all its improbabilities which will make us more tolerant. This will help us to release all our bias and broaden our limited vision towards the existence of oddities often beyond our circumference of the REAL AND THE NATURAL.

If the above is understood and applied in theater too, we will have productions completely free from the oft ideologies of "METHODS" as guiding principles and plays/performances will engender more curiosity in the viewers to explore the unseen, the unsaid aspects rather than simply look and criticize the OBVIOUS.

Dr. Payal Trivedi.

Readers Note _ Please read post-structuralism , Saussure and Baudrillard to avail insight on this post.

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