(Re)defining American popular stage. Contemporary improvisational theater in the United States and its familiarization in Poland
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The aim of this dissertation is two-fold. First of all, it aims to systematize, characterize and define the phenomenon of improvisational theater in order to place it on the American theater map. The author looked into origins of impro(v) in and outside theater, analyzed the relations between theater and popular spectacle, and depicted the steady evolution of improvised theater in North America as to depict improvised theater as a separate, independent theatrical entity in contrast with improvisation per se. The dissertation explores the origins of impro(v) through a thorough investigation of the influences, artistic currents and relations that lead to the emergence of the genre. Secondly, the work focuses on the analysis of the contemporary improvisational theater in the United States and Poland through exploring its traits, genre evolution, themes and topics, as well as its roles and functions. The author compares and contrasts various aspects and notions of impro(v) in North America and in Poland in order to examine the familiarization and domestication of the genre. The case study, which relies mainly on personal interviews, outlines the basic aspects of improvisational theater and analyzes them in terms of structure, theatricality, intergenre fusions, and their role both in terms of theater development and pop culture in general.
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