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Bilha Blum

Dismantling the conventional plot-character-space unity that characterises drama in general, and neglecting the role of narrative embedded in it, has lately become the axis of postmodern performance practice. Defined by Hans-Thies Lehmann as ‘postdramatic theatre’ and by Elinor Fuchs as the kind of theatre in which character is dead or dying, it emphasises the conspicuous prioritising of the visual over the textual typical of this era. Among its main qualities, realised by means of visual constructs which include the replacement of the dramatic character by a body in space, is the cancellation of the focused referential frame or logocentric logic often offered by drama, thus becoming presentational: i.e., presenting the elements of performance as themselves, rather than as re-presentational of the real. Followed by a multiplication of frames or, alternatively, by the abandonment of frames altogether, the result is the emergence of a multifarious range of possible ‘looking standpoints’ that leave the spectators’ expectations for coherence and integration unfulfilled. The specific case of staging canonical plays, which presupposes not only the presence of a written text in performance but one that is also at the very core of accepted cultural practices and beliefs, problematises the issues of visualisation and looking, placing them at a conflicting crossroads. Seen as ‘the true art of memory,’ as defined by Harold Bloom, staged canonical plays would seem to retain their representational status and their evocative power despite postdramatic visualising strategies. The question thus arises as to whether the visual signs of such performances, intertwined with representational attributes, can nonetheless function as non-referential autonomous entities and objectify the spectators’ gaze. Thomas Ostermeier’s 2005 production of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and Lee Breuer’s 2003 production of Mabou Mines’ DollHouse serve here as my main examples in engaging with these issues.

Bilha Blum

Dismantling the conventional plot-character-space unity that characterizes drama in general and neglecting the role of narrative embedded in it has lately become the axis of postmodern performance practice. Defined by Hans-Thies Lehmann as ‘postdramatic theatre’ and by Elinor Fuchs as the kind of theatre in which character is dead or dying, it emphasizes the conspicuous prioritizing of the visual upon the textual typical of this era. Among its main qualities, realized by means of visual constructs which include the replacement of the dramatic character by a body in space, is the cancellation of the focused referential frame or logocentric logic often offered by drama, thus becoming presentational, i.e. presenting the elements of performance as themselves, rather than re-presentational of the real. Followed by a multiplication of frames, or rather by the annulment of frames altogether, the result of this cancellation is the emergence of a multifarious range of possible ‘looking standpoints’ that leave the spectators’ expectations for coherence and integrality unaccomplished. The specific case of staging canonical plays, which presupposes not only the presence of a written text in performance but one that is at the very core of accepted cultural practices and beliefs, problematizes the issues of visualization and looking, placing them at a conflicting crossroads. Seen as ‘the true art of memory,’ as defined by Harold Bloom, staged canonical plays would seem to retain their representational status and their evocative power despite postdramatic visualizing strategies. The question is then, whether the visual signs of such performances, intertwined with representational attributes, can nonetheless function as unreferential autonomous entities and objectify the spectators’ look. Thomas Ostermeier’s version of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (2005) and Mabou Mines’ DollHouse, directed by Lee Breuer (2003) will serve as my main examples in dealing with these issues.

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Valentine Vasak

would be soiled if they were. Indirectly, the playwright toys with the common held belief that “economic activity—especially the use of money—degrades intimate relationships, while interpersonal intimacy makes economic activity inefficient,” 15 to quote the words used by sociologist Viviana Zelizer on

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Donald E. Pease

confluence of feminist, anti-war, civil rights and other cultural formations organizing what would soon be known as the counterculture. Roth’s, Kaufmann’s and Brustein’s belief that they possessed the truth of homosexual dramatic productions drew on two socially normative presuppositions: that women and

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Araceli González Crespán

fundamental social change, precisely the moment when tragedy thrives: Tragic drama seems to be produced often in periods when beliefs are changing, when there is a shift in values, when politics seem unstable. These revolutions create the conditions in which what Felicity Rosslyn calls “a social

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Mary Ann Barfield

, concludes that Martha’s “pathological obsession” 101 with her invisible child, as Roudané puts it, has kept her from breathing. Roudané goes on to write that “George possesses a compelling integrity, a belief in certain humanistic moral principles … because of an ability to restore a qualitative order

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Paul Benedict Grant

’s just provided, but there is a secondary dramatic irony at play, one that functions at Albee’s expense: Albee wants us to laugh at Humbert’s ridiculousness—his belief that he’s being “delicate” when describing himself lapping at Lolita’s “downy mound”—but if we laugh at Humbert, we laugh at Albee, too

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John M. Clum

Malcolm that the “old pot” is “nobody’s father,” 59 Malcolm wonders if his father ever existed,: “Maybe he never existed at all!” 60 The loss of a belief in his father seems to be a catalyst in Malcolm’s death. Fatherhood throughout Malcolm is a bizarre distortion. The father surrogates who try to

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Daniel Regnier

corresponds to what we are referring to as non-discursive communication. 19 Tarkovsky shares with many other film makers and theorists the belief that the specificity of the cinematic art goes beyond the narrative and dramatic elements that it shares with literature and theatre. Although he does not eliminate

The Encoded Cirebon Mask

Materiality, Flow, and Meaning along Java's Islamic Northwest Coast

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Laurie Margot Ross

In The Encoded Cirebon Mask: Materiality, Flow, and Meaning along Java’s Islamic
Northwest Coast
, Laurie Margot Ross situates masks and masked dancing in the Cirebon region of Java (Indonesia) as an original expression of Islam. This is a different view from that of many scholars, who argue that canonical prohibitions on fashioning idols and imagery prove that masks are mere relics of indigenous beliefs that Muslim travelers could not eradicate. Making use of archives, oral histories, and the performing objects themselves, Ross traces the mask’s trajectory from a popular entertainment in Cirebon—once a portal of global exchange—to a stimulus for establishing a deeper connection to God in late colonial Java, and eventual links to nationalism in post-independence Indonesia.