A post that slipped under my radar a near-month ago, Andrew Haydon in the Guardian theatre blog complains, with the characteristic spirit of advocacy, that mainstream Anglo-American theatre tradition remains absolutely married to the idea of literal-minded mimesis.
In itself this is not a new idea, but he relates it back to the political question of representation on stage:
There is virtually no hint that anything but the text can invent meaning on stage beyond dumb representation. This is partly why arguments about the “politics” of the physical proportions of actors are possible in the first place. Because a thin woman on stage finds herself representing nothing more than a thin woman, or, by extension, thin women. It's like we've grasped the idea that something on stage is pregnant with meaning, but, thanks to our abandonment of metaphor and our largely normative, descriptive so-called “political theatre”, the level of representation simply gets plugged into boring complaints about “pretty” girls getting all the jobs.
I would be terribly interested in exploring this idea further. Particularly the abandonment of metaphor.