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Volume 1, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2044-3714
  • E-ISSN: 2044-3722



Building upon Umberto Eco and Jean Baudrillard’s theories of hyperrealism, this article explores hyperrealist theatre through the example of Thomas Ostermeier’s 2004 production of Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck. The article demonstrates that the production’s hyperrealism can be divided into two types: aesthetic hyperrealism and cultural hyperrealism. Aesthetic hyperrealism is the instance of an object appearing as ‘the real thing’, in effect hiding its nature as a sign. The production’s aesthetic hyperrealism is seen in the semiosis of the scenography (i.e. scenography built upon the direct sign). The aesthetic hyperrealism of Ostermeier’s Woyzeck, a feature of the production’s iconicity, is derived from the influence of the televisual iconic sign. Cultural hyperrealism is the cultural desire for things that are more (as in extra or better) than real. Cultural hyperrealism is framed, in Ostermeier’s production, by the social relationships of the fictional world (i.e. sensationalized social interactions that are ‘more’ than real). In Ostermeier’s Woyzeck, cultural hyperrealism is indebted to the influence of TV soap operas.


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