Theatre is composed of a multitude of signifying systems that have a dual function: as literary practice and as performance practice. Fernando de Toro carefully considers the multiple and complex components which constitute the relationships between a text, its concretization as performance, and its reception by the audience in this translation and revision of his Semi3/4tica del teatro: Del texto a la puesta en escena. He focuses on discourse, textuality, semiosis, reception, actantial functions, and history; this comprehensive overview of the various semiotic approaches is placed in the context of modern European, North American, and Latin American theatre.
De Toro begins with an examination of theatre discourse as linguistic expression and as semiosis, and differentiates theatre discourse from other forms of literary discourse and performance. He then thoroughly explores the relationship between the dramatic text and the performance text. A chapter devoted to theatre semiotics establishes how signification functions in drama and performance, in terms of Charles Sanders Peirce's trichotomy (icon, index, symbol). Final chapters focus on theatre reception (the emitter and receptor); the actantial model, and how it has evolved; and a semiological reflection on the history of the theatre. Theatre Semiotics provides a thorough argument for the place and the necessity of semiotics within the interpretive process of theatre.