Theatre There are three filmmakers who are present in every Rivette film: Renoir (for the sense of theatre and improvisation and the idea that the entry into the false, into play and theatre and roles, is a path to the truth of things), Rossellini (for the virtues of the imperfect, the heterogeneity and mismatch of different realities, chance and the arrival of the miraculous, the secret, the mystery … suddenly, without apparent cause as the source of the energy and delight of cinema), and Bresson (for the purity of cinematic forms, mise en scène as an
device. Here we have an early and a late example that frame a body of work whose fascination with the electric switch never seemed to wane (Albright, 2003 , 120; Connor, 2014 ). But Beckett's exploration of the phenomenon of switching, this simple flick that embodies centuries of cultural development and may well determine the centuries to come, is perhaps nowhere as elaborate as in the stage play Fragment de théâtre II (translated into English as Rough for Theatre II ), written in 1958 but only published in 1976 and not
disability as the product of an inaccessible social environment rather than individual difference. Agendas of care also began to widen at this point, from the institutional regimes of medical care, linked (as in the 1908 Royal Commission) with control, to personalised care with the educational aims of offering support and nurturing potential. Theatre with learning disabled actors, which emerged alongside community care in the 1980s, continues to cater for the dependencies of learning disabled actors, while also seeking to develop accessible training and aesthetic forms
This book provides an ambitious overview of how topics related to death and dying are explored in modern Western theatre, covering a time-span of over a hundred years and engaging multiple cultural contexts. In a series of micronarratives beginning in the late nineteenth century, this book considers how and why death and dying are represented at certain historical moments using dramaturgy and aesthetics that challenge audiences’ conceptions, sensibilities and sense-making faculties. Chapters focus on the ambiguous evocation of death in symbolist theatre; fantastical representations of death in plays about the First World War; satires of death denial in absurdist drama; ‘theatres of catastrophe’ after Auschwitz and Hiroshima; and drama about dying in the early twenty-first century. The book includes a mix of well-known and lesser-known plays and performance pieces from an international range of dramatists and theatre-makers. It offers original interpretations through close reading and performance analysis, informed by scholarship from diverse fields, including history, sociology and philosophy.It investigates the opportunities theatre affords to reflect on the end of life in a compelling and socially meaningful fashion. Written in a lively, accessible style, this book will be of interest to scholars of modern Western theatre and those interested in death studies.
This edited collection is the first to engage directly with Foucault’s thought on theatre and with the theatricality of his thought. Michel Foucault was not only one of the most controversial and provocative thinkers of the twentieth century, he was also one of its most inventive and penetrating researchers. Notoriously hard to pin down, his work evades easy categorisation – philosopher, historian of ‘systems of thought’, ‘radical journalist’ ‒ Foucault was all of these things, and so much more. In what some see as a post-critical landscape, the book forcefully argues for the urgency and currency of Foucauldian critique, a method that lends itself to theatrical ways of thinking: how do we understand the scenes and dramaturgies of knowledge and truth? How can theatre help understand the critical shifts that characterised Foucault’s preoccupation with the gaze and the scenographies of power? Above all, what makes Foucault’s work compelling comes down to the question he repeatedly asked: ‘What are we at the present time?’ The book offers a range of provocative essays that think about this question in two ways: first, in terms of Foucault’s self-fashioning – the way he plays the role of public intellectual through journalism and his many public interviews, the dramaturgy of his thinking, and the appeal to theatrical tropes in his work; and, second, to think about theatre and performance scholarship through Foucault’s critical approaches to truth, power, knowledge, history, governmentality, economy, and space, among others, as these continue to shape contemporary political, ethical, and aesthetic concerns.
1 Theatre in ruins: street and theatre at the end of Fordism 1973 was an inauspicious year for France’s economy and a surprisingly sunny one for its street performers. After the spring crash in the global property market but before the autumn oil embargo, Jean Digne, director of the Théâtre du Centre in Aix-en-Provence, and Charles Nugue, director of the city’s cultural centre, organized a festival: Aix, ville ouverte aux saltimbanques (Aix, city open to street performers). The event brought tumblers, jugglers, fire-spinners, magicians, and busking musicians
3 Theatre of witnessing: towards the decolonisation of testimonial theatre To me ‘testimonial theatre’ is a genre wrought from people bearing witness to their own stories through remembrance and words. Material culled from memory is crafted into a compelling yet true narrative, which is then brought to life through text, performance and the visual devices of theatre. The essential component of this genre lies in its capacity for healing through speaking, hearing and being heard. (Farber, 2008b: 19) In 2007, I interviewed the South African playwright and
constitute itself in the general form of a ‘theatre of poverty’. It is hardly a surprise, then, to discover that the nineteenth-century stage also gave expression to the public’s growing consciousness of poverty and its disturbing effects. What it produced on that stage might be described as a kind of sub-genre of the melodrama. Often social reformist in outlook, frequently
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
Foucault often writes at the edge of some stage. He calls up stagecraft to describe violent displays of royal power or the oldest rituals of Christian temptation and repentance. Theatres help him to explicate what he means by ‘heterotopia’ or suggest other coinages to him (‘Ubu-power’, ‘alethurgy’). Struck by what seems to him obvious, he can