The thinking of Regie

This book is dedicated to a conceptual exploration of the thinking of Regie: of how to think about theatre direction, and how Regietheater thinks itself. The focus is on what directing does, and what directing can do, tapping into and realising the potential of what theatre does and may do. Part I of the book outlines the social, ideological, political, cultural and aesthetic contexts of Regie, and some of its core intellectual and conceptual roots, by circumventing some standard reference points. Philosophical ideas and concepts of situating Regie within the Rancièrian 'aesthetic regime of art' and its specific 'partition of the sensible' are explained. The book specifically links Regie to Georg Hegel's influential thought, maintaining that Regie expresses a cultural dynamic of making sense and making sensible. The book presents the respective positions of Friedrich Schiller and Leopold Jessner, symptomatically capturing central trajectories of thinking the conceptual space of Regie, both mobilising the speculative dynamics of theatral thinking. Part II of the book explores the contested notion of 'the truth of the text', and the dialectic sublation of the play-text in play-performance. It looks at the mediation which the double-edged act of thea affords, with its emphasis on both performing and spectating, marked by the Žižekian notion of the 'parallax perspective'. The overarching political potential inherent in Regie and the very formal structure of theatre offer a playfully excessive resistance to the dominant logic of economy, efficiency, sustainability and austerity which defines present-day global neoliberal semiocapitalism.

Friedrich Schiller and the liberty of play

3 Theatre as dialectic institution: Friedrich Schiller and the liberty of play We have started exploring how Regie reveals through scenes and senses a historically situated ‘style of thinking’, associated with the post-Kantian, post-1789 Western European ‘aesthetic regime of art’. No longer serving the functional semiotic economy of representation, it uses the three theatral ‘sensibles’ of kinesis, aisthesis and semiosis to insist on a subjective, affective intelligibility and sensibility. Already in 1803, we find a detailed outline by none other than German

in Directing scenes and senses
Hegel, theatrality and the magic of speculative thinking

‘Schauspiel’: the second term that complements the polyvalent idea of Schau is, of course, the ‘Spiel’ of playing, players and playhouses – the very term that remained common parlance for theatres and actors long into the nineteenth century. Considering drama and its performance as Schauspiel, as a game or 34 Directing scenes and senses play of sight and showing, enables us to further develop our understanding of Regie, and our grasp of its mediation, introduced in the previous chapter. Theatre, from this perspective, designates first and foremost an art that plays with

in Directing scenes and senses

7 • What place for the senses in contemplative life? The study of emotions in conventual writings reveals that religious women’s relationship to the body and to physically mediated experiences was complex, and at times paradoxical. The contemplative ideal rejected the physical in favour of the spiritual, it treated the flesh as a burden, a hindrance to religious perfection. Yet nuns remained women of flesh and blood; their religious experience was, by necessity, mediated through the senses. In their daily o ­ ccupations for the pragmatic running of the convent

in English Benedictine nuns in exile in the seventeenth century
Directing the ‘sensible’

at ‘saturating the word with spirit’ (39).1 Accounts of the history of theatre directing, by Winds and others, suggest that, at some point, the emergence of a specialised profession and of a specific process that follows its own logic and categories had become a necessity, whereas before, no such need had emerged, not within the collectively organised modes of theatre creation 16 Directing scenes and senses in English Elizabethan playhouses, let alone at the Dionysian festivals of old Athens. If Regie were a catch-all phrase which signified any artistic method

in Directing scenes and senses
Abstract only
The future of Regie?

as Anne Bogart (2001, etc.), Mike Alfreds (2007), Declan Donnellan (2005) and Katie Mitchell (2008), to name but a few contemporary directors and their books which I use in my own teaching of direction. 190 Directing scenes and senses DIRECTION ? MISE EN SCÈNE REGIE Figure 24  The ‘theatral square’, applied to the relations of direction, mise en scène and Regie. Direction is, thus, situated on the theatrical level, understood here without any of the term’s negative connotations. • Mise en scène is an analytic concept which expresses the dynamic process of

in Directing scenes and senses
On Regie, truth and ex-position

enforced on it by the director, and they played in proper period costume – all this allegedly ‘true to the text’.1 Since the 1850s, and hence almost since the beginning of Regie, most German attacks on Regietheater appeal to this fundamental category: the ideal of Werktreue and Texttreue, of being true to the work or text 98 Directing scenes and senses (Prütting 2006; see also Balme 2008 for a critical reflection on the ‘fundamentalist’ ideology of the concept). Five years before Gosch’s Macbeth, in December 2000, a prominent heckler in the name of this much

in Directing scenes and senses
Rethinking ‘directors’ theatre’

perfect example of what French philosopher Jacques Rancière, one of several intellectual inspirations of the thinking behind the present study, terms mésentente, or dissensus. He introduces the term to describe a peculiar form of misunderstanding, which is 2 Directing scenes and senses not the conflict between one who says white and another who says black. It is the conflict between one who says white and another who also says white but does not understand the same thing by it or does not understand that the other is saying the same thing in the name of whiteness

in Directing scenes and senses
On Regie, playing and appearing

‘signs’ of the theatre image in front of us, in the old language of theatre semiotics. A kinetic and aisthetic surplus, triggered here by the perpendicular revolving set and the impossible perspective it introduced, took us beyond strictly functional and efficient representation. It engendered theatral play, an excess of scenes and senses, of seeing and sensing, which marks the very limen of representation. In Kriegenburg’s Regie, this theatral excess becomes the principal agent for the actualisation of the play-text as play-performance. The moments of theatral

in Directing scenes and senses
On Regie, realism and political critique

Other in our selves. Classic dramatic texts 166 Directing scenes and senses by Ibsen, Shakespeare and others function as an ‘outside eye’ whose perspective offer a distancing otherness to our everyday experience. This otherness is heightened by the sets created by Ostermeier’s regular scenographer Jan Pappelbaum (b. 1966), an architect trained at the Weimar Bauhaus. In Ein Volksfeind, he created a black box that was far more abstract than previous sets. The space initially portrayed Stockmann’s livingroom, while doubling as newspaper office and assembly hall in

in Directing scenes and senses