The dramas of knowledge
Foucault’s genealogical theatre of truth
in Foucault’s theatres
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Drawing upon ‘The Scene of Philosophy’, Foucault’s interview with Moriaki Watanabe in 1978, this chapter analyses Foucault’s conceptual use of theatrical tools and patterns. It first explores Foucault’s dramatising style of writing as a philosophical device to intensify hidden possibilities of historical events – and it compares this approach to what Gilles Deleuze calls the ‘method of dramatization’. It then examines the specifics of the theatrical gaze, which refuses to clearly separate truth from falsehood, and the genealogical and Nietzschean dimensions of what Foucault calls the Western ‘theatre of truth’. The chapter closes with an analysis of the Belgian play It’s my life and I do what I want. La brève histoire d’un artiste européen du XXe siècle by Guy Dermul and Pierre Sartenaer, in light of Foucault’s arguments: this play, by refusing to differentiate truth from fiction, can be considered as exemplifying a theatrical production of knowledge.

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