This study (specially written for this volume), of the antithetical notions of reference and repetition in Sartre' s drama uses the speech-act theories of Austin and Benveniste to throw new light in particular on Kean. At the same time in its analysis of Kean, it explores the nature of performative speech acts and the status of repetition on stage. Dramatic practice and linguistic theory are mutually illuminating in an essay which envisages literature not as demonstrating theory but rather as extending it.