What happens to theatre after Meyerhold?
Antonin Artaud and the Theatre of Cruelty - The British Library
A whole number of different enquiries and explorations take place, some of them more or less simultaneously. I am going to focus on two names which crystallize innovation in the situation of theatre: Artaud and Brecht. These two figures respond to the Meyerhold-event—to its echoes—but in different manners. How does Brecht work in theatre in fidelity to the Meyerhold-event? The horizon or promise of these interruptions and stimuli to thought was a possible politicization of the audience.
It is this interrogation that generates a classic example of forcing for us. What is forcing exactly? It is a relation between a statement concerning the situation-to-come—the situation supplemented with its generic subset—and a particular multiple which, if it turns out to belong to the generic subset, renders the statement true in the situation to come. Therefore the concept of forcing provides a more complicated account of what happens in an enquiry. In an essay Brecht claims that one way of changing the social function of theatre would be to fuse it with the organs of mass communication; he considers the case of radio.
The public occasions it reports upon are not genuinely public because listeners cannot communicate themselves, only receive. However this example of forcing appears quite problematic. Given the statement, what is the related element which if it turned out to belong to the generic multiple would force the statement? Surely such a multiple has turned out to exist: the internet.
Such a conclusion would be too hasty: what has to be decided is what part of the internet and its use is an element of the generic multiple; how is the internet—not all of it, perhaps very little of it—connected to the Meyerhold-event? As Badiou says, an activist or an artist works according to truth as a process rather than the categories of knowledge, but they cannot afford not to know their situation and thus, here, the preceding enquiries. First he continues the enquiry into the plasticity of theatrical space towards a dissolution of the actors-audience distinction.
Hence his long exploration of the metaphor of the plague, itself drawn from St.
Theory/Theatre: An Introduction
Augustine who deplored theatre as a form of mental infection. I consider as vain all those attempts made in Russia to place the theatre at the service of immediate political or social ends. This is the case however new the staging procedures employed.
These procedures, insofar as they wish to subordinate themselves to the strictest givens of dialectical materialism, turn their back on the metaphysics that they scorn, and remain scenic staging following the most vulgar sense of the word. Explosion: the truth procedure proceeds multi-directionally into different domains via forcings. What is at stake here is the mapping of a generic truth procedure. No doubt this is an oxymoronic if not moronic activity: the generic does not let itself be diagrammed, only written mathematically.
To sketch a generic procedure one can either identify a sequence of enquiries via a proper name or indicate forcings to which proper names may be attached. The space of performance, including the audience, is totally mobile and plastic. Actions which make up a theatrical work may be non-intentional and subject to chance.
In the age of machines, theatrical movement—whether of puppets or humans—must be mechanized to the point of blurring the organic-mechanic distinction. In Edward Gordon Craig calls for abolition of the performer and his or her replacement by an ubermarionette. The Futurist Prampolini repeats this call in but actually builds and uses marionettes. Meyerhold developed a biomechanical theory of actor training.
Actors do not have to present well-rounded characters or roles, but functions. Nevertheless, not all collective presentations in which people do not present individuality belong to the new theatre Nuremberg rallies. A theatrical and musical language incorporates the noise of the modern world. The new theatre thus includes the enquiries of contemporary music. The mass media can be appropriated and diverted to critical ends. See Brecht on radio as mentioned above but also on film in With this caveat, each of these statements can be said to serve as a synecdoche for a trajectory of enquiry which can be traced to the Meyerhold event.
The genealogy—and genealogies are usually selective—thus explodes from original situation of theatre out into different realms. But this is not enough. Via forcings the explosion thus rushes outwards and then chronologically backwards to secure new sources of fidelity. It separates out, in fidelity to an event, its generic submultiple and then adds it to the former situation. Not only do we have multiple historical situations—art, music, cinema, etc. Read preview Overview. Martin Puchner. David Kornhaber.
Where does absurdist theatre come from?
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Philosophy and Theatre: An Introduction
Drama and Philosophy BA. The course This Joint Honours degree combines the study of Drama and Theatre in equal measure with the study of Philosophy. Consider contemporary British theatre, international and intercultural performance. Go beyond drama with dance, physical theatre, and contemporary performance practices. A historical range from ancient to contemporary analytic philosophy. Develop critical skills for your career or further study. Course structure. Each year you will take two course units in each subject. Entry requirements.
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