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Relocating the Body in Contemporary Performing Art


Edited by Maaike Bleeker, Steven De Belder, Kaat Debo, Luk Van den Dries and Kurt Vanhoutte

In ice hockey, the term body check refers to a specific move to gain control. It is a blow from body to body, a dynamic clash of physical strength, which will determine the course of the game. In this book, too, the body is checked and there is physical confrontation. Not in the hockey ring, but on stage.
This book deals with the body in contemporary (performing) arts. The focus is on exploring theoretical avenues and developing new concepts to grasp corporeal images more accurately. This theoretical research is confronted with the voice of artists whose work explicitly deals with the body. In-depth interviews with a.o. Meg Stuart, Wim Vandekeybus, Romeo Castellucci, Jerôme Bel reveal a very broad range of views on the (re)presentation of the body in today’s performing arts. The combination of these two voices –the theoretician’s and the artist’s -shows that research by artists and cultural scientists is perfectly complementary.


Edited by Wim Hüsken, Konrad Schoell and Leif Søndergaard

Farcical elements were incorporated into non-comic drama ever since the theatre had been rediscovered in the Middle Ages. Already at a very early stage, comic scenes proved to be popular additions to liturgical music drama and, later, to religious plays in the vernacular. Some scholars believe that the genre of farce developed out of these farcical elements. The suggestion was made that farces, similar to the stuffing of meat or poultry, had been added to plays to increase audience involvement. Other researchers see quite different origins for the farce. The present volume does not aspire to solve the question of the relationship between the two types of “comedy” on the medieval stages but its editors hope that it will nevertheless contribute to this discussion. In addition, it will enable its readers to form an impression of the huge variety of the comic in the vast area of medieval and early Renaissance theatre and drama.

In Words and Deeds

The Spectacle of Incest in English Renaissance Tragedy


Zenón Luis-Martínez

Departing from earlier studies which regarded incest as a literary topos or dramatic metaphor foregrounding political, social, or legal issues, Words and Deeds: The Spectacle of Incest in English Renaissance Tragedy argues that the presence of incest on the Renaissance stage is a strategy for the enactment of the spectator’s tragic experience. Incest is explored neither as a sin nor as a crime, but as an “unspeakable” experience filtered through dramatic words and deeds. The incitement of desire, visual pleasure, and unconscious fantasy, as well as traumatic rejection, pain, and horror, are all aspects of this paradoxical and uncanny experience. Aristotelian theory of tragedy, Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, and Michel Foucault’s notions of the deployment of sexuality and alliance, concur in the analysis of plays where incest is a central or a secondary motif – Ford’s ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Beaumont and Fletcher’s Cupid’s Revenge, Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi – and others where incest is an effect of language and mise-en-scène – Sackville and Norton’s Gorboduc, Shakespeare’s King Lear. The variety of topics and the combination of critical perspectives makes In Words and Deeds an attractive book for students and teachers of Renaissance drama, as well as for those with a special interest in psychoanalytic and other new theoretical approaches to the literary text.

Myth, Telos, Identity

The Tragic Schema in Greek and Shakespearean Drama


Iván Nyusztay

Iván Nyusztay’s Myth, Telos, Identity: The Tragic Schema in Greek and Shakespearean Drama for the first time presents a systematic comparison of Greek and Shakespearean tragedy. By thematizing the common modes of the tragic, it measures their structural regularities against corresponding philosophical and ethical reflections. The comparative theory of tragedy evolves through a constant debate with the traditional views of Aristotle, Hegel, Schelling, Paul Ricoeur, and others. An architectonic survey of plays leads to a generic distinction between pure tragedy and melodrama, and proposes a possible description of Christian tragedy. This generic differentiation is considered by means of a teleological approach to tragedy as well as from a formal perspective. The criticism of traditional notions of character stresses the relevance of dividedness and internal collision – tragic phenomena which are explored as necessary stages of self in the constitution and formation of tragic or internal alterity. This form of alterity is underpinned by a discussion of action theory and speech act theory. This book will be of interest for readers of Greek and Shakespearean drama, as well as for students of comparative literature and genre theory, classicists and philosophers, and for everyone interested in the relation between literature and philosophy.

Playing the Market

The Market Theatre, Johannesburg. Revised and updated edition


Anne Fuchs

The relationship between Johannesburg’s Market Theatre and the economic and political forces of South Africa's apartheid regime was both complex and somewhat ambiguous. The theatre's two founders, Mannie Manim and Barney Simon, however, from idealistic beginnings managed to steer their experimental enterprise around pitfalls ranging from censorship, boycotts and recuperation by big business to the difficulties encountered in finding black authors, let alone black audiences.
If the place occupied by the Market institution in apartheid society is emphasized throughout the present study, its contribution to the aesthetic of resistance is also underlined through detailed criticism of the plays and authors dominating the theatre. Pieter-Dirk Uys, Barney Simon's workshop plays and, among others, Black Consciousness plays are subjected to various methods of theatre performance analysis. The reckoning that had to come in the early 1990s revealed itself as globally positive; the reasons for this may be found in the updated concluding part of Playing the Market, which is composed of more general essays (including one on the vibrant Junction Avenue Theatre Company) on how the theatre scene in contemporary South Africa started to change. A postscript reveals more specific aspects of the Market situation in the late 1990s when its hegemony in the New South Africa was already being questioned.

French 'Classical' Theatre Today

Teaching, Research, Performance


Edited by Philip Tomlinson

Arising from the activities of the Centre for Seventeenth-Century French Theatre, this volume proposes a selection of eighteen essays by internationally renowned scholars aimed at all those who value and work with the theatre of seventeenth-century France, whether in teaching, research or performance. Frequently seeking out the interfaces of these areas, the essays cover historiography (including that of opera), the theory and practice of textual editing, visualizing – in terms of both theatre architecture and the significance of playtext illustration - , approaches to study and research (including the most recent applications of computer technology), and performance studies which relate the classical canon to contemporary French and other cultures. Always suggesting new directions, challenging the epistemological bases of the very concept of French classical theatre, the essays provide a snapshot of scholarship in the field at the dawn of a new millennium, and offer an ideal opportunity to reassess its past whilst looking to its future.

Moving Subjects

Processional Performance in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance


Edited by Kathleen Ashley and Wim Hüsken

Procession, arguably the most ubiquitous and versatile public performance mode until the seventeenth century, has received little scholarly or theoretical attention. Yet, this form of social behaviour has been so thoroughly naturalised in our accounts of western European history that it merited little comment as a cultural performance choice over many centuries until recently, when a generation of cultural historians using explanatory models from anthropology called attention to the processional mode as a privileged vehicle for articulation in its society. Their analyses, however, tended to focus on the issue of whether processions produced social harmony or reinforced social distinctions, potentially leading to conflict. While such questions are not ignored in this collection of essays, its primary purpose is to reflect upon salient theatrical aspects of processions that may help us understand how in the performance of “moving subjects” they accomplished their often transformative cultural work.

Body Show/s

Australian viewings of live performance


Edited by Peta Tait

Body Show/s: Australian Viewings of Live Performance asks: in what ways do physical bodies in live performance present vital and compelling expressions of ideas?
This collection contains critical analyses of cultural spectacle and social identity by eighteen major Australian scholars and practitioners. It discusses and describes bodies in contemporary performance, theatre, visual art and dance; in circus and ethnographic shows; in performance training, butoh and wrestling; at gay and lesbian dance parties; and in relation to digital images. It explores historical and theoretical issues of gender and postcoloniality, technology, and the location of bodies in architectural, social and virtual spaces.
Artistes and groups discussed include Sydney Front, Open City, The Performance Space, Meryl Tankard’s Australian Dance Theatre, Chrissie Parrott, the Bell Shakespeare Company, Tess De Quincey, Yumi Umiumare, Gilgul Theatre, Lyndal Jones, Stelarc, Death Defying Theatre, colonial circus, ethnographic displays, the horse as performer, and wrestling legends Gorgeous George and Ravishing Ricky Rude.