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Theatrical Events, Politics and Culture


Edited by Temple Hauptfleisch, Shulamith Lev-Aladgem, Jacqueline Martin, Willmar Sauter and Henri Schoenmakers

Throughout the world festivals are growing – in numbers, in size, in significance – and serve as spaces where aesthetic encounters, religious and political celebrations, economic investments and public entertainment can take place. In this sense, festivals are theatrical events.
This volume contains discussions of 14 diverse festival events from five continents across the globe, written by members of the IFTR/FIRT Working Group on the Theatrical Event, the same group that has produced the ground-breaking study Theatrical Events – Borders Dynamics Frames in 2004 (also published by Rodopi). The events discussed here range from traditional carnivals and festivals to more controversial theatre, dance and opera festivals, children’s festivals and community events, as well as saints’ and workers’ festivities. All of these constitute part of the local playing cultures and take on significant political roles, nationally and regionally.
The authors explore and extend the theoretical frames of reference for any contemporary discussion of theatrical events and festivals, in order to provide a new and fresh perspective on past and present festival culture across the globe.

« La bataille du soliloque »

Genèse de la poétique bilingue de Samuel Beckett (1929-1946)


Chiara Montini

Mallarmé hors frontières

Des défis de l’Œuvre au filon symbolique du premier théâtre maeterlinckien


Maria de Jesus Cabral

Mallarmé hors frontières s’attache à dessiner un nouveau profil de Mallarmé et à découvrir la mobilité de sa pensée, contrariant certaines caractérisations irrémédiablement associées à son nom – hermétisme, obscurité, misanthropie vis-à-vis de la réalité historique –, résultant de lectures fragmentaires, souvent essentialistes de son œuvre.
L’impact de Mallarmé sur le Symbolisme est pourtant majeur. A partir de 1885 surtout, on assiste à une convergence d’idées, puis à un regroupement d’un vaste éventail de poètes autour du « maître » de la rue de Rome. Eclectique, « franco-étrangère », cosmopolite, cette génération est à l’image même du mouvement : on ne peut l’enfermer dans des frontières strictes, créant une dynamique d’échanges tout à fait exemplaire entre Paris et la Belgique.
Parmi les jeunes écrivains débutant dans l’effervescence symboliste, Maurice Maeterlinck est rapidement devenu un nom de proue de la rénovation du théâtre français. Auteur de La Princesse Maleine et de la célèbre Pelléas et Mélisande, le poète-dramaturge belge commence non seulement sa carrière sous les encouragements de Mallarmé, comme ses pièces révèlent de nombreuses passerelles avec l’ œuvre du maître français, chez qui la recherche d’un théâtre nouveau constitue peut-être le véritable fil d’Ariane, depuis Hérodiade, le Faune et Igitur, jusqu’aux textes de la maturité.
Le premier théâtre maeterlinckien a donné à des principes comme la suggestion, l’effet et le mystère une dimension “active”, créant un filon symbolique du projet de Mallarmé, hors frontières, au seuil de la modernité.


Bettina L. Knapp

To trace the life of Marie Dorval through the turbulences and exhilarations of her epoch is to engage not just with the genesis and the full flowering of a rare theatrical genius but also with the teeming literary, emotional, economic and material dramas in which such a genius is implacably embroiled. Dumas, Vigny, Hugo, Sand, Gautier and many others mingle their creative and affective energies with Dorval’s in a ceaseless dynamic interplay. But to read Bettina Knapp’s exceptional story is to realize too the so easily overlooked backcloth to life in Marie Dorval’s times: poverty, the need to will one’s survival, unimaginably trying circumstances in which theatre is performed, whether in the provinces or in Paris. And the account that follows further seeks, upon this at once intimate and societal canvas, to give us some real insight into the uniqueness of Dorval’s acting techniques, simultaneously instinctive, viscerally natural, and learned, studied, though more from life than instruction. A book for actors, indeed; but a book, too, for lovers of the theatre and, beyond that, of the sheer improbable drama of existence.

The Play within the Play

The Performance of Meta-Theatre and Self-Reflection


Edited by Gerhard Fischer and Bernhard Greiner

The thirty chapters of this innovative international study are all devoted to the topic of the play within the play. The authors explore the wide range of aesthetic, literary-theoretical and philosophical issues associated with this rhetorical device, not only in terms of its original meta-theatrical setting – from the baroque idea of a theatrum mundi onward to contemporary examples of postmodern self-referential dramaturgy – but also with regard to a variety of different generic applications, e.g. in narrative fiction, musical theatre and film. The authors, internationally recognized specialists in their respective fields, draw on recent debates in such areas as postcolonial studies, game and systems theories, media and performance studies, to analyze the specific qualities and characteristics of the play within the play: as ultimate affirmation of the ‘self’ (the ‘Hamlet paradigm’), as a self-reflective agency of meta-theatrical discourse, and as a vehicle of intermedial and intercultural transformation. The challenging study, with its underlying premise of play as a key feature of cultural anthropology and human creativity, breaks new ground by placing the play within the play at the centre of a number of intersecting scholarly discourses on areas of topical concern to scholars in the humanities.


Edited by Mark S. Byron

This collection of essays – the first volume in the Dialogue series – brings together new and experienced scholars to present innovative critical approaches to Samuel Beckett’s play Endgame. These essays broach a broad range of topics, many of which are inherently controversial and have generated significant levels of debate in the past. Critical readings of the play in relation to music, metaphysics, intertextuality, and time are counterpointed by essays that consider the nature of performance, the history of the theater and the music hall, Beckett’s attitudes to directing his play, and his responses to other directors. This collection will be of special interest to Beckett scholars, to students of literature and drama, and to drama theorists and practitioners.

The St Gall Passion Play

Music and Performance


Peter MacArdle

The early-fourteenth-century St Gall Passion Play comes from the Central Rhineland. Unfortunately its music (over one hundred Latin and German chants) is given in the manuscript only as brief incipits, without any musical notation. This interdisciplinary study reconstructs the musical stratum of the play. It is the first full-scale musical reconstruction of a large German Passion play in recent times, using the latest available scholarly data in drama, liturgy and music. It draws conclusions about performance practice and forces, and offers a sound basis for an authentic performance of the play. The study applies musical and liturgical data to the problem of localizing the play (the first time this has been systematically attempted), and assesses how applicable this might be to other plays. It presents a detailed study of the distinctive medieval liturgical uses of three German dioceses, Mainz, Speyer and Worms. The comparative approach suggests how the music of other plays might be reconstructed and understood, and shows that a better understanding of the music of medieval drama has much to teach us about other aspects of the genre. The book should be of interest to literary scholars, theatre historians, musicologists, liturgical scholars, and those involved in the performance of early drama.

The Theatre of Civilized Excess

New Perspectives on Jacobean Tragedy


Anja Müller-Wood

Jacobean tragedy is typically seen as translating a general dissatisfaction with the first Stuart monarch and his court into acts of calculated recklessness and cynical brutality. Drawing on theoretical influences from social history, psychoanalysis and the study of discourses, this innovative book proposes an alternative perspective: Jacobean tragedy should be seen in the light of the institutional and social concerns of the early modern stage and the ambiguities which they engendered. Although the stage’s professionalization opened up hitherto unknown possibilities of economic success and social advancement for its middle-class practitioners, the imaginative, linguistic and material conditions of their work undermined the very ambitions they generated and furthered. The close reading of play texts and other, non-dramatic sources suggests that playwrights knew that they were dealing with hazardous materials prone to turn against them: whether the language they used or the audiences for whom they wrote and upon whose money and benevolence their success depended. The notorious features of the tragedies under discussion – their bloody murders, intricately planned revenges and psychologically refined terror – testify not only to the anxiety resulting from this multifaceted professional uncertainty but also to theatre practitioners’ attempts to civilize the excesses they were staging.

Caligula et Camus

Interférences transhistoriques


Sophie Bastien

Alors que le théâtre d’Albert Camus reçoit de plus en plus de considération de la part des universitaires, cet ouvrage se consacre à la meilleure pièce camusienne, Caligula. Il en propose une analyse structurelle, pour en faire ressortir toute la métathéâtralité, et définit les rapports complexes que celle-ci entretient avec la folie et le politique : il cerne ainsi dans leur interaction les motifs qui sont au cœur de l’œuvre. De plus, il établit des liens aussi riches que variés avec des textes historiographiques et des œuvres-phares de la littérature occidentale, qui préfigurent le personnage si puissant qu’est Caligula. En somme, il situe la pièce sur le triple plan d’une tradition philosophique et littéraire qui remonte à l’Antiquité, du renouveau théâtral qui marque le milieu du XXe siècle, et de la production de Camus dans son ensemble.
Il intéressera étudiants et professeurs qui se penchent sur la littérature française du XXe siècle, aussi bien que sur d’autres littératures, puisque par le biais camusien, il traite de la tragédie grecque, de Shakespeare, de Melville, de Pirandello… Il s’adresse plus spécialement à ceux qui étudient le théâtre, que ce soit dans une perspective historique, thématique ou esthétique.

Disclosing Intertextualities

The Stories, Plays, and Novels of Susan Glaspell


Edited by Martha C. Carpentier and Barbara Ozieblo

For the first time, this volume brings together essays by feminist, Americanist, and theater scholars who apply a variety of sophisticated critical approaches to Susan Glaspell’s entire oeuvre. Glaspell’s one-act play, “Trifles,” and the short story that she constructed from it, “A Jury of Her Peers,” have drawn the attention of many feminist critics, but the rest of her writing—the short stories, plays and novels—is largely unknown. The essays gathered here will allow students of literature, women’s studies and theater studies an insight into the variety and scope of her oeuvre.
Glaspell’s political and literary thinking was radicalized by the turbulent Greenwich Village environment of the first decades of the twentieth century, by progressive-era social movements and by modernist literary and theatrical innovation. The focus of Glaspell studies has, till recently, been dominated by the feminist imperative to recover a canon of silenced women writers and, in particular, to restore Glaspell to her rightful place in American drama. Transcending the limitations generated by such a specific agenda, the contributors to this volume approach Glaspell’s work as a dialogic intersection of genres, texts, and cultural phenomena—a method that is particularly apt for Glaspell, who moved between genres with a unique fluidity, creating such modernist masterpieces as The Verge or Brook Evans. This volume establishes Glaspell’s work as an “intersection of textual surfaces,” resulting for the first time in the complex aesthetic appreciation that her varied life’s work merits.