The concept of the “postdramatic” theatre proposed by Hans-Thies Lehmann and performances within the so-called “Flemish Wave” have influenced each other. Lehmann's concept does not criticize the use of literary texts in theatrical plays but rather the concept of the “dramatic”, which stresses actions springing from a conflict between a character (subject) and a community, or between subjects. Postdramatic theatre questions the notion of an acting subject.
An extreme example of this questioning can be found in The Lobster Shop by Needcompany, one of the most important Flemish performance groups. The piece, which is aimed at building a theatrical place of the “future”, shows, according to Nicolas Truong, “the end of grand narratives and the blotting out of ideological alternatives to global capitalism”. What merely seems to be the central plot told by the performers is full of contradictions and is interrupted again and again by marginalized characters. In these interruptions, the play gives priority to the marginalized subalterns who are forgotten in “grand narratives” and exploited in the system of global capitalism.
In the last scene, a subaltern character, who appears threatening but at the same time pitiful, remains alone on stage. An excess of incomprehensible images in this character transcends the idea of a dramatic or performing subject. At this moment neither an acting subject nor any shared future has yet been performatively produced, but these are, in the words of Werner Hamacher, “afformatively” interrupted. Postdramatic theatre emphasizes the importance of this “afformative” dimension which calls a “strike” at the “factory” of performative success within a compulsive capitalism.
According to Hans-Thies Lehmann, the term “postdramatic theatre” describes a theatre aesthetic in which the text, the action, as well as the subjects that bear the action, do not form the primary moment, but where all theatrical elements are instead understood as equal. Opera research, however, questions the concept of the postdramatic, owing to the fact that a specific tension characterises opera as an artistic genre: an opera - especially one from the repertoire - is usually closely tied to the respective text (the libretto and particularly the score). In Wagner's case specifically, verse and the musical form are unalterable. Nonetheless concurrently, sensual phenomena have always been present in opera, and - as they uniquely arise in the course of the performance (as distinct space and proper time, as well as sound, voice, body, etc.) - have postdramatic traits. Precisely such phenomena can have a productive effect by changing the recipient's perception in the performance, and thus reveal a critical dimension of the subject.
The postdramatic in Schlingensief's Parsifal production (Bayreuth, 2004-2007) has been characterised as “transgression” to the point of excess and breach of taboo. Such excess - in the sense of a hypertrophy of images, an adding or splitting of roles, and an increase in the number of extras, of whom many are black-skinned - seems to distance itself from the plot of Wagner's Parsifal, and appears to be resistant. It is exactly this constellation that can nevertheless unsettle the perception of the audience. A further irritating moment of the postdramatic is the “deviant body” (Lehmann), which Schlingensief brings to the stage through the appearance of disabled, old and obese people. In an astonishing way, this aesthetic of “transgression” sheds new light on the model: the central theme of salvation expands into the universal.
In this paper, I reconstruct the theatre theories of Hans-Thies Lehmann (1944-) and Christoph Menke (1958-) by focusing on their dialogue - their commentary and argument - with each other. In Postdramatic Theatre (1999), Lehman refers to Menke's interpretation of Hegel's theory of tragedy. He also discusses Menke's theory on the outdatedness of tragedy in Tragödie im Sittlichen (1995) to bolster his claim that drama itself is outdated. What Lehmann does not mention, though, is that Menke argues for the existence of "the tragic" in modernity at the same time.
In Tragic Play (2005), Menke argues that the presence of "modern tragedy" is a manifestation of metatheatre characterized by the failure of attempt, or by the failure to transform praxis through theatrical play. Menke criticizes Lehmann for admitting the possibility of "postdramatic theatre without drama" on the grounds that postdramatic theatre as metadramatic theatre must contain a dramatic moment or layer. Lehmann objects to the criticism, saying that in contemporary society play and reality are so mixed that contemporary theatre cannot remain in a dramatic framework.
I conclude that the dispute between Lehmann and Menke lets us reflect on the fundamental question of the relationship between theatrical play and social practice.
This paper explores the new, emerging generation of directors in China in the 21st century, focusing on one of the most successful among them, WANG Chong. He received the Festival/Tokyo award for Minefight 2.0 (2013) suggesting his increasing popularity also in Japan.
More than thirty years have passed since the introduction of experimental theatre into China in 1982 by the dramatists GAO Xingjian and LIU Huiyuan with the director LIN Zhaohua in their performance of Absolute Signal. The stage production of WANG Chong is striking for its thorough deconstruction of original plays as hypo-texts compared to LIN Zhaohua or MENG Jinghui, another important similar playwright.
WANG shows great interest in Hans-Thies Lehmann's Postdramatisches Theater, from which he has gained great creative inspiration. It is to be said that WANG Chong's works have influenced Chinese theatrical world's concept of “postdramatic theatre”.
This study examines how the notion ‘postdramatic theatre’, which gained importance after the publication of Hans-Thies Lehmann's book Postdramatic Theatre, is perceived within the context of twenty-first century theatre in the UK. Although the release of the English publication of the book was delayed compared to other languages, the term ‘postdramatic’ has been frequently applied to contemporary theatre practices in the UK. Lehmann's concept has faced criticism from British scholars. Many of them disapproved of the concept postdramatic theatre because Lehmann's position on theatre writing and playwrights was ambiguous, and he did not fully theorize the position of texts in postdramatic theatre.
This study mainly considers criticism about postdramatic theatre, specifically the British contemporary theatre from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, when the issue of theatre texts was reconsidered among theatre academics and practitioners. Taking into account British playwrights such as Martin Crimp and Sara Kane, who are considered as representative postdramatic writers, we need a recalibration of writers as postdramatic.
Moreover, this study points out that one of the biggest changes in twenty-first century British theatre has occurred in the relationship between the stage and audience. Again, Postdramatic Theatre does not clearly address this issue. Examining Tim Crouch's radical An Oak Tree as an example of the change in contemporary British theatre, this study concludes that we need to extend the concept of postdramatic to apprehend the spectrum of twenty-first century theatre in the UK.
Italian actor Luigi Riccoboni's Dell'arte rappresentativa (1728) is considered by scholars like Di Bella and Vicentini to be an acting theory that is liberated from ancient rhetoric, but there has not been any research to verify this claim. In this paper, comparing the relationship between the writings on acting theory by Italian theatre practitioners and rhetoric with that between Dell'arte rappresentativa and rhetoric, I determined aspects in which Riccoboni's treatise is liberated from rhetoric and formulated as a modern acting theory.
In my analysis of Italian acting theories, from Leone de' Sommi's Quattro dialoghi to Pier Maria Cecchini's Discorso sopra arte comica con il modo di ben recitare, I found them to be imitating Roman rhetoric of Cicero or of Quintilian. Riccoboni's theory, in contrast, even though some of its parts seem to be derived from rhetorics, can be said to be presenting the first Italian acting theory liberated from rhetorics. Besides, it is also the first Italian acting theory that contains a number of poetic theories based on those of Aristotle and Horace. Further, it introduced the new French thought by emphasizing “sensibilité” in acting. Dell'arte rappresentativa is a treatise that united ancient theories with modern thought and opened up a new era in the history of Italian acting theory.
The satirical comedy Cloud-cuckoo-land by Karl Kraus, known as the Viennese satirist since the Fin de siècle, is an adaptation of the old Attic comedy The Birds, which Aristophanes wrote to mock Athens. The story in which two Athenians in exile provoke the birds to found their own state and win the primacy over Athens as their ruler, is here modified for the purpose of supporting the Austrian First Republic under the leadership of the Social Democratic Party.
One key feature of Kraus' comedy is his reinterpretation of the two Athenians as swindlers. Another is his strong consciousness of word force in his rewriting of Emil Schinck's translation of The Birds, amplifying the caricatural effect of the swindlers' statements as well as their support by other characters, such as unprincipled journalists. In this regard, the language of this drama carries out the act of ridiculing and punishing the potential enemies of the Republic. With Cloud-cuckoo-land, it can therefore be argued that Kraus developed a performative strategy of language.
In the end, it turns out that the birds are a metaphor, fulfilling the condition of Kraus' so-called “poetic freedom”, and their existence is also a metaphor for the fictitious community in which the enlightenment of the value of such language works. This drama can be viewed as that fantastically comical sequel to “The Last Days of Mankind”, Kraus's representative drama, whose present-day timeliness seems highly notable and recognizable in this age of fake news.
In the Restoration Age, Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) came to Paris and presented two adaptation operas at the Opéra de Paris: Le Siège de Corinthe and Moïse. What role these two operas played in the history of the opera has not been examined in detail, compared to his opera, Guillaume Tell (1828). The purpose of this article is to reveal the fact that Moïse (1827) played an important role in opening a new age of operas immediately before the establishment of grand opera at the Opéra de Paris by discussing how this opera was first performed in Paris.
Moïse was adopted from his own Italian opera Mosè in Egitto, which was first presented in Paris in 1822. Examination of the adopted Moïse in detail showed that renewed music especially in the 3th act (the scene of the conflict between Hebrews and Egyptians) had dramatic effects on the scene, which led to Rossini's musical dramaturgy highly appreciated by the audience.
When he adopted the opera, he faced a difficulty in reconstructing the stage of le passage de la mer rouge in 4th act, known for melodrama of Hapdé (1817). To resolve this problem, the composer and set designer experimented new staging in which visual reality is fused with music by emphasizing the chorus of Hebrews. This experiment failed in this opera but motivated him to bring innovation to operas, eventually leading to the birth of a new genre, grand opera.