Models occupy a central role in the history of theatre and performance. In contrast to distinctions between models of something that exists and models for some prospective reality, this chapter argues that shifting between models-of and models-for is an inherent quality of a model as an autonomous form. In other words, the repurposing of models is part and parcel of their function. Three categories of models are considered: 1) material models as objects of theatre and performance historiography (puppets, maquettes, mannequins, stage sets); 2) medial models, which sit on a precarious border between materiality and metaphysics (photography, sketches, documents, scripts); and 3) immaterial or conceptual models that historiography relies upon to practise its purpose (genres, masks, stage figures, patterns of behaviour). A special case of immaterial models are historiographic ones: master narratives, personality profiles, formations of communities, the relational portrait, or performance reception. Rather than tools, models are approached as heuristic and speculative devices that, by means of their inherent playful repurposing, enable perspectives and imaginary representations that may eventually transcend understanding.
Drabek, P. (2020). Modelling the World through Play: An Exploration in Repurposing, Representation, and History-Writing. In T. C. Davis, & P. W. Marx (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance Historiography (ed. Tracy C. Davis and Peter W. Marx)) (397-417). London: Taylor & Francis (Routledge). https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351271721