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and outlining a type of dramaturgy that I am hoping will emerge with more prominence in the near future. A while ago, a friend of mine asked me what a dramaturg’s role really was in theatre. He said that his ﬁrst association with the word was that of a Turk who made a lot of drama. When I think about it now, this rings quite true. A dramaturg in my process is a kind of a ‘Turk’, someone who is somewhat alien, who maintains his or her otherness and distance from the process in order to be able to ask questions about it. And it is also someone who makes a lot of drama, someone who asks questions about things that might otherwise slip by unnoticed or be taken for granted. Most of my work is concerned with issues of presence and embodiment and procedures of ﬁctionalizing. I often take original material from other sources: ﬁlms (embodying the movement of the actors), my private life (moving my furniture into my installation), weather conditions (collaborating with the factor of its unpredictability and ‘givenness’). Then I set up ‘generators’ that process this material to produce new work. These generators are, in fact, dramaturgical structures, and their transparency in the work is as important as the material itself. I might call it a dramaturgy of space, which renders both the content and the manners in which that content is produced visible at the same time. Working with a dramaturg is for me as important as working with any other collaborator. I set up a certain dramaturgical structure (a generator), which might, for example, be based on a timeline of a certain emotion. Once this generator is clear to all of us, we use it as an anchor to hold the rest of the elements together, a red thread that runs through the process and the performance and to which everyone can relate. A good dramaturg for my process is someone who manages never to lose sight of this red thread.
The second role of dramaturgy in my work concerns the creation of the thread that connects all the individual projects into one ongoing exploration. This refers not only to how this installation or that performance share elements and expand on different aspects of them. Even more importantly, it is about how I can use certain elements from my projects, as well as from other people’s projects, art history, politics, daily news, weather, my friend’s lives etc. in order to contextualize them differently in each new work I make. And further, how these elements can affect and loop back onto the original material they were taken from, and how they can re-appear with each new project. Therefore, this red thread of dramaturgy extends itself through my projects in time. The third level of dramaturgy in my work is the one I ﬁnd very important for future dramaturgies. By this I mean attitudes that can help make dramaturgies of real-life events transparent. They may include: a dramaturgy of one’s of life (how I ﬁctionalize my own life to give it a grand narrative); a dramaturgy of community life (that makes visible the strategies of staging, ﬁctionalizing and performing day-to-day life); a dramaturgy of virtual life (that makes visible the strategies of ﬁctionalizing, staging and performing political and other events through the mass media of TV, ﬁlm and the Internet). Ideally, this kind of dramaturgy would be capable of underlining the network-like relationship between these three threads and could incorporate them into the art-making process, where not only life is a generator of art but art is a generator of life in a transparent way.
Pe rf o r m a n c e R e s e a r c h 1 4 ( 3 ) , p p . 1 2 . 2 6 - 2 7 , 4 4 , 5 2 - 5 3 , 6 5 - 6 6 , 7 0 , 8 9 , 1 01 , 1 1 0 - 1 1 1 , 1 1 9 - 1 2 0 © Ta y l o r & F ra n c i s L td 2 0 0 9 DOI: 10.1080/13528160903519625
but something for the new age (even if what it looks like is a resigned ﬁction) like an endogenous departure from what keeps re-appearing as of its own accord. and a PhD programme that caters almost entirely for students whose research proposals identify with the interdisciplinary – and. Claudia Castellucci and Romeo Castellucci (Castellucci et al. more and more. than reﬂecting on theatrical experiences that seem. I suspect. a thing of multiple parts. one of the actors on the dark carpet starting. this time. I’d say those experiences are basically of two sorts. Put like that. than any projections I might make on the topic of ‘European dramaturgy in the 21st century’. images and spectatorship. for some. most recently questions about rhetoric. into a thought about something done well that might call for a ‘taking on’ of what was ‘good’ in these encounters. For four years or so. I suppose. 2007). post-theatrical – ﬁeld of performance studies. distended. then stopping to start again. here and there. a return. First the scraps. the story – somehow already oozing its own after-image. outside of London and also outside of the UK. Kinkaleri’s Nerone. for what can only be followed up. irrespective of our best efforts to make it appear or even to look it in the eye. perhaps. following theatre in ‘Europe’. for the moment. though be it with exquisitely diminishing returns). the time that remains and that opens. somewhere or other in London through the mid-1990s. Theatre and Performance Studies’) that negotiates between a large undergraduate programme. co-authored with Nick (again) alongside the artistic core of that remarkable company. of unremitting blackness (in spite of holes cut in the black ﬂoor). a pleasure that belonged at the same time to getting ‘work’ done. that image (for those of us who were there) as vivid and viscid as congealed 26 . Not. At this end of the twenty-ﬁrst century. for the large part. Chiara Guidi. in London and then. I know. all to the perpetually interrupted strains of Scott Walker’s ‘A Lover Loves’ (‘Corneas misted / colour high … ’). without having to betray its ‘topic’. followed by a few brief comments. conversation and group of people. the collective for the ﬁrst time putting actors up there on the stage rather than themselves. The second experience is dispersed. following the unfolding of SRS’s enigmatic gesturality in Romeo’s eleven-part sequence Tragedia Endogonidia was. to whip herself across her back while the other plays ‘horse’. My own work and interests move between these various points of identiﬁcation. with a prejudice – I suppose – towards questions that tend to strike me in ‘theatrical’ terms. Whatever lights these and other experiences can cast on a dramaturgy ‘to come’ take the form. more than two hours. as evidenced by a collection of essays on European Theatre co-edited with Nicholas Ridout (Kelleher and Ridout 2006) and a book on the theatre of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio. of the following: some scraps. A rich theatrical meditation on love and death that seems to be that without having to say anything about itself. those scraps. So. to be marked by a Beckettian lessness (Beckett having put down the marker for what can’t be gone back on in the previous century. or a doing-again. today. some scattered reﬂections upon works seen and what stays with me when the work is done. the scene – or say. I’m not sure that I can get much further. and has to do with being a spectator. which takes in about 150 students a year and tends to focus on the dramatic and theatrical end of that spectrum.For the past ten years – and more – I have been teaching in London at one of the so-called ‘new’ universities in a subject area (we call it ‘Drama. two hours. still wrapped up in the unﬁnished business of the twentieth century (and earlier). One belongs to a very particular location. for me the core twenty-ﬁrst-century theatre experience to match those years at the end of the previous century spent breaking down gesture and intentionality into microscopic particles in lofts in Hoxton and Peckham with PUR. If I know – or rather if I think – anything worth thinking about dramaturgy. even. collaborating on a series of long-laboured and then brieﬂy-exhibited devised theatre pieces under the name Theatre PUR. For the sake of this brief statement. then much of it is still indebted to lessons that I learned there. the terms sound very bland – no less bland.
The same goes. REFERENCES Castellucci. meanwhile. after all this time. to be approached perhaps only through some sort of anamorphosis that will seem to reveal – in spite of everything – such terror and at the same time such (loving?) care. something strange and inhuman. where we might stretch the point to suggest that here the function of conjuring a drama out of the given materials is given over – or. Claudia. a thread that is spun out not from makers and shapers behind the scenes or ‘in the picture’ but from the twisted eye-beams of the spectator who dreamed it all already. Kelleher. This isn’t the only show recently where the actors have given the audience books to hold and look at while the show goes on. and talk too about the gift to the spectator of a theatrical experience turned. something alien. You had to be there too for Bock & Vincenzi’s invisible dances … . London: Routledge.ink. although it will have been possible to talk after the show about the rigorous pursuit of technologies of reproduction and translation (actions become images become words become fractured gesture …) around a source that isn’t so much absent as barely accessible. where the dramaturg function seems strangely to be deferred to the performative machinery of the stage itself. Nicholas (2007) The Theatre of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio. it might be the thread that ties one or another anamorphosis to its ‘true’ appearance. We looked at the pictures in the books. 27 . Maybe. unnervingly. Chiara. And. Romeo. although in different ways (for the occasion. restricting the list to European examples). Kelleher. we might do better to say returned – to the spectators themselves. if I were to risk drawing out a thread on which to hang a discourse about European dramaturgy in the current ‘century’. inside out. which offers up human appearance as if in ambivalent tribute to the imperious demand of the spectators (that’s us) that such appearances should be brought forth – or the New Riga Theatre’s adaptation of Vladimir Sorokin’s novel Ice. Joe and Ridout. Castellucci. for SRS’s Hey Girl!. was captured and turned over to look. the extreme distension (spatially and temporally) of the rhetoric of the stage to produce a choreography of spasm and dancelessness. Guidi. Nicholas (eds) (2006) Contemporary Theatres in Europe: A critical companion. London: Routledge. Joe and Ridout. and who puts ﬂesh upon the dream every time the lights change. we watched the action onstage. remarkably. just like us. the curtains open and the ﬁgures come on. What ‘went on’ – for this spectator at least – went on at once in all and also none of those places. as it were. and we followed the story that was being told to us (read out directly from Sorokin’s text) and – at times – performed in front of us.
For this purpose. differentiate. or both remain as they are without real confrontations with each other. their experiences. The experts of ‘production dramaturgy’ must join their knowledge of the theatre of many cultures (as well as of their societies and histories). the founders of Butoh. modern European straight plays (Shingeki) and avant-garde performances and dances have been adopted from Europe. alienate and destroy them. there have been very few successful collaborations so far. we must recognize the theatre forms and styles of foreign cultures more strongly in their otherness and confront them with our own. This situation produces the necessity and possibility to foster such expert for the future. European and Japanese performers and directors have collaborated in the past decade. Especially in Japan.THE OTHER DRAMATURGY BETWEEN EUROPE AND ASIA Japanese or East Asian theatre still holds many possibilities for dramaturgical activities. However. 44 . Kyogen. good sense and unerring judgment. Kabuki and Bunraku. Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno. Secondly. in which the one side simply adopts and integrates the other. This work is not easy but can contribute to a dramaturgy that is suitable for more dynamic theatre activities in the twenty-ﬁrst century. Unfortunately. we must playfully integrate. East Asia. next to the traditional theatre such as Noh. For instance. Today. In addition. were inﬂuenced by the German Ausdruckstanz in their youth and went on to establish their unique style. researchers and students in theatre departments who can play this role must and can make more direct contacts with theatre practitioners and experts from foreign cultures. Most productions are no more than co-operations between directors and performers. The chances for a new theatre have not been well utilized strategically. very few experts can perform dramaturgical work for both European and Asian theatre. which is possible only in the cross-cultural dramas. This cross-cultural theatre communication could lead to a new type of theatre aesthetics in the twenty-ﬁrst century. which has its own theatre culture and tradition. has actively absorbed European styles and artistry and incorporated these other cultural dramas into its own for the last hundred years. Teachers. That is why we have many possibilities to enhance the cross-cultural theatre communication on an artistic level. There seems to be no doubt that a lot of dramaturgical effort is needed for this kind of production. ﬁrstly. many kinds of theatre are performed every day in and around Tokyo.
They would be performers. analysis. because it was exactly what all the other participants did too. I asked myself which kind of working processes and methods. to get fully absorbed. ﬁlm and media and a strong interest in Le Roy’s and Lehmen’s work. So theorizing choreographic modes of work requires a constant change of position between an insider’s and an outsider’s perspectives. In similar ways to Le Roy. I entered the projects with what I had brought with me: my non-professional dance experience. and one has to ﬁnd a way to withdraw from it again in order to reﬂect upon it. That transfer was meant to lead to a potential multiplicity of improvised choreographies. 3. But these systems were not only productive tools to produce works that were no longer Lehmen’s own. This was nothing really special. My theoretical interest and qualitative approach emerged from within the choreographic practice and was made possible not despite but through my rather unclear function. Just reﬂecting upon it entails the risk of applying external criteria that may have nothing to do with what is at stake. produce and analyse the choreography at the same time. he didn’t invite a dramaturg to take over the function of an “outside eye” in the working process. One has to experience the creative process. So what is needed is an understanding through both doing and reﬂecting. he did not look for performers who would merely execute certain instructions but for ones who were ‘mature’ enough to contribute to the development of his methodology as well as to its exploration.WHEN THE DRAMATURG BECOMES OBSOLETE. Even though my ofﬁcial job title was ‘dramaturg’ at the time. He was interested in the idea of turning the production of a dance performance into the performance itself. Thomas Lehmen was looking for participants who were willing to be involved and distanced at the same time. Lehmen and their participants used to approach their conceptual goals. When Xavier Le Roy planned his production Project in 2002. analyse and put into words what was going on. Accordingly. choreographers and dramaturgs in one and therefore would be able to perform. because a ‘pure’ dramaturg wasn’t what was needed. a choreographer and a dramaturg: inspired by the experience of being involved in the working process on so many different levels (without feeling particularly competent for this triple responsibility) I started to document. For his project Funktionen (2004–5) he developed a methodological toolbox with a set of choreographic systems that could be given away to other artists. From today’s perspective – looking back at these collaborations after completing my doctoral dissertation on Choreography as Critical Practice I can say that an access to such personal relations and partly fragile situations needs involvement and distance at the same time. THE DRAMATURGICAL REMAINS IMPORTANT observations from choreographic practice 1. He also wanted them to have the potential to reﬂect the communication processes that are happening during an improvisation on stage. 4. Just diving into the creative process can easily lead to an overidentiﬁcation with the artistic practice. I didn’t join their projects in this particular function. The only difference was that I slowly began to develop an interest in theorizing these choreographic modes of work. he searched for participants who were able to play several roles at once. 2. he wanted to produce a presentation format in which process and product would fall together. appropriation and transformation. In both these cases. Accordingly. This personal story of a dramaturg who wasn’t needed as such but instead as a multi-tasking participant and who turned into a researcher with an interest in theorizing choreographic modes of 52 . Ideally. So I entered without knowing my own role in advance but it quickly transpired that I became even more than a performer. years of studies in theatre. which forms of collaboration and formats of presentation Le Roy. That is why he was unable to separate the period of conceptual preparation from that of the practical exploration of certain choreographic methods or from that of the analytical observation of the performative result.
A dramaturg has many more areas of responsibility than watching.work reveals one characteristic trait of “the dramaturgical”. writing and giving feedback but one central aspect of dramaturgical work is the oscillation between inside and outside. And with regard to my particular object of study (choreographies that are made to reﬂect their own making). the dramaturgical could even be considered as one possible access to a practice- driven theory. 53 . Bielefeld. In other situations this switching of perspectives comes quite naturally. reference Husemann. rather a theory of practice that derives from practice and goes along with it. transcript. however. Pirkko (2009) ‘Choreographie als kritische Praxis: Arbeitsweisen bei Xavier Le Roy und Thomas Lehmen’. Not theory that is imposed on practice and uses it for its own purpose. I speak of “the dramaturgical” here intentionally in order to highlight a quality instead of a function. This kind of theorizing has a lot to do with not-knowing: not knowing which direction a creative process will take and not knowing the result. Sometimes it is problematic. because it is always neither/nor. but still knowing how to deal with such vagueness according to the contingencies of a given situation.
the whole swarm of participants went backwards through the Brandenburg Gate uniﬁed or. In May 1969. Radio art is one of the younger art forms. and have all electric devices in your household running at the same time’. the famous Hotel Adlon. a group of media artists from Hamburg. we invited playwrights. up to 100 people simultaneously started to dance. Reﬂecting on what is new in radio art. going back (as radio itself) less than a hundred years. to answer a ﬁrst question: yes. Susan Philipsz. its rituals and its theatrical potential as well as the acoustic medium in which they take place and. radio-docs and ars acustica-like productions for over half a decade. the French Embassy etc. Rimini Protokoll O-Ton Ü-Tek. While positions of ‘Action Art’. For one hour. pieces that found interesting ways to explore everyday life. WDR . The experimental spirit of these early years seems to have had a revival. the ‘Literary Studio’ at the WDR radio in Germany.LISTEN AND PLAY When Gaby Hartel and I curated the ‘Woche des Hörspiels’ (Week of Radio Drama). ‘Lick the buttons of your radio while listening’ or ‘Sting yourself with a needle. which for a long time had been a classic radio drama competition and only rarely looked beyond the literary tradition of the radio play. presented a half-hour Action Game by the German Fluxus-artist Wolf Vostell. performance. and it still is. there has been a comeback of playfulness and of game-like dramaturgies in radio-art too. Chris Watson. The programme was called 100 x Hören und Spielen (A Hundred Times Listening and Playing). WDR . This period must have been lucky radio days of discovery and invention. both in radio and in contemporary art. (see. Michaela Melián and Alvaro Zuniga. To show the various interrelations between radio and the arts. to bring in new methods and ideas from the different contexts of their work. and Deutschland 2. I believe one new tendency lies in the way that radio artists currently return to ideas of intermedia as prominent in the 1960s and 1970s. to 65 discover authors and artists who have the ambition to re-invent radio art. among others) to demonstrate and discuss how radio and sound come into play within their work. radio art does – and will – need dramaturgy. The festival opening by LIGNA. bringing subjects. associated in some kind of ‘inverted parade’. DLR . take photographs of one another and lie down on the ﬂoor as if listening to echoes of history from below. such borderline activities are nothing very new. Cologne. Of course. strategies and artists in from other ﬁelds had been important for the development of radio art. Right from the start. So. visual arts and with public space (Katharina Franck and Nuno Rebelo. its sensual qualities and suggestive potential in radio and other media. To end. The important role of dramaturgs is to be curators and headhunters. A second tendency I would like to point out is the new relevance of the voice. a Radio-Art festival presented by the Academy of Arts in Berlin in April 2007. Speculating about possible ‘Lessons from Listening’. ‘Conceptual Art’ and artistic interventions into social processes have been (re-)discovered in art. Ammer and Console On the Tracks. which have been the subject of a range of radio plays. for example. the entire choreography conducted by LIGNA through instructions that the participants received via radio (an approach LIGNA calls ’radio ballet’). Vostell’s game throws an interesting light on LIGNA’s approach to working with radio today. better. With our festival relaunch we wanted to provide a broader view on the vivid interplay between radio art and related art forms. musicians and contemporary artists who work with ﬁlm. ﬁnally. The listeners were invited to follow instructions such as ‘Press your naked belly against your TV-screen’. As an attempt to organize a virtually collective indoorperformance in a public/private-space. was a plein air performance at Pariser Platz. for example. language itself). I would suggest that these sensual and emotional qualities of the voice (a big theme in early radio theory) are a . our central idea was to open up the festival. the square in front of the Academy’s main building and a tourist hotspot next to the Brandenburg Gate.
I ﬁnd it very encouraging to see that artists and cultural institutions like theatres. and that they open their archives. Thirdly (and closely related to the second point). to support independent (art-) radio and to introduce radio art into new contexts.de/ http://ligna. support upcoming talents and realize the chance of ﬁnding partners and live-audiences in a broader cultural scene.com/ http://www. It was attacked by some exponents of the ‘Neues Hörspiel’ (New Radio Play) movement in the 1970s. A voice can have a similar impact on a listener as the movements of an actor have on the audience of a ﬁlm or a theatre performance – you fall unwillingly into the same rhythm. And it is vital that on the other hand theatres. it is important that public radio stations open themselves up to new ways of producing and presenting radio art. CBS . media festivals and media schools as well as cultural theory in general are increasingly more interested in sound and sound art. Standing in the tradition of the work with ‘original recordings‘ as developed by the ‘Neues Hörspiel’-movement. they have a more light and playful attitude. But now it seems to be back on the agenda of radio art. which allow it to move beyond radio and to ﬁnd ways to engage the public in a more direct sense. like a mirror. in radio and its aesthetic potential. there is a great and still growing group of works that deal very playfully with the style of documentary and fake facts. that they preserve money. and there are different approaches to how to deal with this power. links to artists http://www. festivals.de/bohlen. Since the early 1990s.blogspot. genuine radio-artists like Hermann Bohlen and Walter Filz (later followed by the duo Serotonin and others) have been working in a very subtle way with mixed material from radio archives and other found footage.de/ 66 . of cooperation. at least in Germany. Radio has the potential to mix ‘real’ reporting and ‘authentic’ ﬁction (Orson Welles’s famous radio play War of the Worlds. These three tendencies represent a quite subjective choice and. where it used to play a certain role in radio propaganda during the Nazi-era. unconsciously imitating and reﬂecting what you see or hear.90-prozent-wasser. Talking about institutional frameworks.html http://www.katharinafranck. new forms of live performance or installation.net/ http://www. is the bestknown example for this method). Radio art thus has already found new places of presentation. universities and other cultural players are ready to cooperate with public radios.fundamental and physical experience for every radio listener (at least that is how I feel).chriswatson. express which artistic ideas I would like to take with us into the twenty-ﬁrst century. quotes or sounds.de http://www. resources and programme-slots in their schedule for experiments (despite facing further reductions and centralizations in the expensive departments of radio drama and radio documentary). bringing forth critical thought about perception and a variety of tones.coderecords. This power of the voice was placed under suspicion for a while. To support this.rimini-protokoll. art spaces. New aesthetics need new forms of production and. especially. at the same time.
what kinds of text are we talking about? Where do these texts come from. last but not least. Giving it a second thought. The word ‘material’ to me seems crucial for the debate about the ‘future of texts’. Quite often. We look for sources that provide us with more or different material than can be found in the majority of dramatic literature and that also enable us to look at things from different angles. questions and themes but also with images. more importantly. what about the ‘future of the text’? I do not have an answer but have many questions to ask.When I was asked to take part in a workshop entitled ‘The Future of the Text‘ (at the conference on ‘European Dramaturgy in the 21st Century’ in Frankfurt in 2007).) At the same time. curated two festivals for performance projects and worked on adaptations of the Odyssee and a highly experimental novel by Virginia Woolf. but it is fair to say that a lot – if not most – of the productions we work on draw on sources other than traditional drama. (And there is nothing wrong with that. I realized that I had reduced the word ‘text’ to mean ‘dramatic text’ or ‘play’ or ‘drama’. which develop out of research and take shape in rehearsals. texts don’t play a big role. Maybe the only way to ﬁnd out how to do it this by trial and error. communicator and interpreter? Are there any rules as to how to put together what research and improvisation and adaptation have produced? What will these new texts. you will ﬁnd adaptations of novels and movies and a large number of ‘projects’ as well as new plays. too – in addition to his or her job as a curator. The big question is: how should this be done? I guess there are hardly any limitations to where such material can be found or how it should be assembled. (I am not referring here to the idea of performance as text but to a very simple understanding of ‘text’ as any way in which a language is being used on stage). producer. I was dramaturg in a project that combined nineteenth-century spiritual music with texts by Hölderlin. in which legal records formed the basis of the performance. actions and. meaning that different kinds of theatre will cater for different tastes and needs of different audiences –– or the other way around. But – and here are my questions – where will this leave the author. Of course there will still be an interest in classical drama. But how can this material be found and. So. ﬁlm clips. artists will continue to use other sources. the playwright or dramatist? Do we need university programmes for dramatic writing? Who will come up with and write down the things the performers on stage will actually say? What will the collaboration between author and dramaturg look like? Will the dramaturg become a kind of writer. but obviously ‘text’ means much more than that. If not drama. and I expect this approach to become even more popular. using more complex dramaturgies. novels or movies are sometimes a greater inspiration than traditional plays. plays reduce complex realities to simple dramatic structures in order to work well. my ﬁrst reaction was: ‘Why have they asked me?’ Among all the things in the theatre that I am interested in. and what can be done with them? Over two seasons at Schauspiel Stuttgart (2006–7). This ‘material’ provides us not only with ideas. though. I worked twice with René Pollesch. something to do and to say on stage. Of course. pop music and personal experience in his productions. almost all of the productions I have been involved in over the last few years were text-based in one way or another. because there still is and will be a huge audience for it. A dramaturg is a person involved not only in tracking down interesting material but also in shaping and trimming it. as the largest municipal theatre in the region we also produce ‘classics’. who incorporates theoretical texts. look like? Can they be separated from the performance? Should they exist separately? 70 . I imagine the future of theatre to be pretty pluralistic. Looking at Schauspiel Stuttgart’s programme. condensing and reducing it. First of all. I also worked on a project with Hans-Werner Kroesinger. Max Weber and Joseph Beuys. In fact. For us. transformed into something that is worth being put up on a stage? This is where dramaturgy comes in.
spontaneity. called Transit. for instance. Such a simpliﬁed way of opposing various categories of theatre may become in fact a cul-de-sac. to borrow a term from Jan Kott. Modiﬁcations had to be made in different registers. even in reference to historical material. structural. It is based on systematic academic research. contempt for the notion of text is not unusual these days. The creative strategy and method we used is best described as chaos. who was. among them a dancer and a musician. instead of opening different strategies. on identifying what was the least necessary to articulate. the voice. the production’s playwright and the set designer. Nevertheless. especially on plays by the eighteenth-century Danish playwright Ludvig Holberg. The process of producing Transit was in a way very Italian. even if it in many ways looks like one. preparatory process of research and preproduction on the other. This working method was in fact not that different from the other practice of mine which is focused very much on classics. This led to a dynamic interaction between chance. It looked like improvisation. In theatre practice. It absorbed and emitted. The actual creation of the performance took place during the rehearsals and grew out of the inputs of the actors. included nine actors or performers. and trendy. arriving from different parts of the world. composer and light designer who made up the production team. it is known from brain research that it is precisely rhythm. from various ethnic backgrounds. to insist on reduction. In the area of research. dancers. the ideal spectator. This meant. musicians. The production. which premiered in October 2007. who was also the director and the set designer. is frequently no longer trained. The story took place in Frankfurt airport. One has to train a dialectical movement of intuition and reﬂection. at the same time. What is thought to be clear frequently is not. Dramaturgical manoeuvres take place in close collaboration with the stage director and the scenographer. and a thorough. 89 .THE WELL-PREPARED IMPROVISATION A rather strong. probably as it is considered to be polluted with the notion of text and the ‘meaning’ of literature. that is creativity. It all aims to supply the crucial freedom to improvise. sudden inspirations and unpredictabilities on one hand. created the text as an integrated part of the overall musical totality in constant collaboration with the composer who was present during the entire rehearsal process. I recently worked with the stage director Giacomo Ravicchio. The playwright. like for instance the stage set. which communicates through sound and rhythm. either in academic theatre research or in creative theatrical practice. improvisation. had become trapped in a kind of limbo when all ﬂights were cancelled for reasons unknown – the airport terminal represented the place of our collective terror. an underestimation of text tends to lead to a disregard of. The artistic visions for the project dated back maybe many years and. and then to argue for doing even less than that. it risks conﬁrming conventional categorizations. constituting an artistic team. The voice as a corporeal fact. where the nine characters. The classic Italian professional secret lies in the fact that nothing should be as well-prepared as improvisation. had been prepared before the rehearsals began. The preparations are spread over a couple of years. a place where one would probably not want to linger. The production was a musically sensuous and sensual totality and a ‘sponge’. My role as a dramaturg was to be the audience. Or the opposite. to a great extent. sound and metaphor that have an enormous impact on a recipient. sonorous. visual. one of the actor’s most valuable instruments. Contrasting text-based theatre with theatre of images or physical theatre is not necessarily productive. artistic director of Meridiano Teatret. What kind of process is that? It is not a devising theatrical process.
Dramaturgy is always already there. – Collaboration between all artists included is there for further individuation (not in terms of authorship but in terms of individuated experience in perception. on time-to-come. the micropolitics of the group or the organizational aspects of collaboration. – Our ‘products’ (performances) do not represent the relational aspects of authorship. – Performances are only markers in time. non-linear genetics of the material etc. its always already emergent nature and the obviousness of its strategies. singular results of the homogeneity of the past in the here-and-now.).Having worked for several years in a collective that gathers together two dramaturgs. Our relations are not thematized but translated into the procedures or paths of the performance (two solos presented as a duet. a philosopher and four dancer-choreographers. but our relations inﬂuence the protocols of performance (not dramaturgy). even if we don’t focus on it. but we bet on the force of inventiveness. ready-made performance. dramaturgy either prescribes or reﬂects new social relations within a performance. – We as a group of artists were interested in the productive rather than the reactive politics of performance. it might serve as a blueprint for a new social narrative. there are a few conclusions and deviations that have sedimented over time and that still trigger our thinking and practice: – Dramaturgy is the ultimate space of power in theatre due to its prescriptiveness. 101 . discussions on the piece within the performance. – A notion of dramaturgy has become a metaphor for perspectivalization and disciplinarization of knowledge produced in the autonomous artistic practice. its perspectivality excludes the surplus of all that is vague and volatile for the clarity of its strategy to proceed. language and productive force).
It seems as if young makers respond to the overorganization of the dance infrastructure by ‘arming’ themselves with support structures. In this sense the work seems not to focus on the semiotic. to avoid the formatting that happens through institutional pressures. It shows their capacity to organize. In general. I detect a sense of incapacity to participate as free agents in the production of art. and. Which theatre. which has to do with new notions of relationality. David Weber-Krebs and Mette Ingvartsen. To respond to the question of whether there is a need for dramaturgs.1. Aitana Cordero. which borrows from existing experiences but achieves very different effects. Ivana Müller. with regard to the sensorial. David Weber-Krebs and Boris Charmatz. 3. In dance. Rimini Protokoll. as if we were to engage again with questions of representation and semiotic theory from the 1970s. It seems as if these makers think they will never be fully able to organize their own art production. I have mixed feelings about this. I imagine that new approaches will take on rhetoric as well and will make use of dramatic enactment. Brice Leroux and deepblue. Not on what the images mean. as it were. notions of embodiment continue to stimulate the creation of theatrical works but will take on new directions. the issue of creating an event and gathering people continues to be questioned. seeking a different relationality. Ivana Müller. in your opinion. I am observing two divergent tensions. I am thinking here in particular of the aforementioned works of Andrea Bozic. which accentuate the sensorial. I would say that there is a need for dramaturgy. which pull at dance from very different aspects: one goes. What are the institutional frameworks that should be changed in order to encourage and enable interesting theatre work? 110 . Laurent Chétouane. It is being approached by the use of immersion in installation works. 4. which means that strategies for working will necessarily be different in every new situation. Nicole Beutler.) This means for dramaturgs that their main priority should be to help ﬁnd optimal conditions for the creative process and to keep an open mind for the broad range of options that are possible. I am thinking here of the work of Blast Theory.e. the function of the images. radical way with the tension between visual culture and bodily experience. Laurent Chétouane. but I wonder what is driving this. performance and dance do you regard as being important for future dramaturgies? I regard those artistic tendencies in dance and performance as full of potential that are dealing with questions that have not yet been exhausted. Which artistic tendencies in theatre. back to the autonomist theatrical event. Perhaps it is part of the fundamental realization that art-making is less and less a matter of individuals and more and more one of groups. But instead. There is an increasing wealth of experiences and of examples that dramaturgs can tap into. This is the second tendency I mentioned. The most striking direction I have been witnessing is the revisiting of the creation of imagery in the theatre. but to introduce a new approach to the image in the theatre. It will entail any relevant aspect that the creation of theatre or dance includes. the direction of the image. The increasing academic attention to art production and analysis here is both an enormous asset as well as a threat. Nicole Beutler. but on what they do. I see the relationship between maker and dramaturg as extremely case-speciﬁc.. and another moves away from the theatrical. Aitana Cordero. Mainly I ﬁnd that it is part of a general institutionalization of art-production in dance. is the main responsibility of dramaturgy today? Do theatre and performance need dramaturgs? And how are their situation and working methods changing? I witness an increase in the work and need for dramaturgs. What. of which the dramaturg is a part. in particular the work of Felix Ruckert. not necessarily for one dramaturg (quoting from a discussion on dramaturgy we held in Amsterdam in 1999. 2. David Weber-Krebs and Mette Ingvartsen. this revisiting is inspired by very different notions and engages in a new. i. performance or dance production in recent years did you ﬁnd particularly important? The works of Andrea Bozic.
This implies contesting existing hierarchies in art production and reception and. art production needs to confront the challenge for visibility. to create new communities.Providing free space to allow new voices to enter the art production is a continuing concern. It will be a challenge to create ﬂexible structures for engaging with the social environment in order to ﬁnd a legitimation of art production and a fruitful exchange between art and society. this is a challenging agenda. 111 . As the public debate about art has become very institutionalized. Still. The increasing attention in academia to the arts should help in the acknowledgment of the importance of art works for culture in general. creating a climate that allows for new voices to come through. or connectivity. most of all. for the art to take part in social and political discourse (without retreating to populist strategies).
one that could be useful in naming the peculiar ending of the fragmented play. strange. The fragment could be executed. In these kinds of fragmented alternatives. in principle. Sarah Kane’s 4. but ﬁrst I would like to clarify that in these fragmented plays the ending loses its traditional value of ‘conclusion’ and even its status as a fragment that is more important than others. no hierarchy between the elements. But this principle can vary. an ‘ateleological’ ending does not negate the teleology of the linear structure but offers a new alternative where the terms of dénouement or plot require revision at the hands of theatre theory. As Deleuze and Guattari indicate. Some artists break into pieces a play or a performance that previously had a linear structure. or even a plot. As a result. I would not like to choose a term that is preceded by preﬁxes such as post-. I point out this alternative although it is difﬁcult to ﬁnd examples. they together possess a ‘unity’ in the performance which is not a linear causal ‘unity’ but a sense in the whole. In this brief statement I would like to introduce one more term. If this happens the reader or the audience should be able to reconstruct the previous story (I am thinking here. parataxis and rhizome. which does not negate but excludes the concept that follows it. In the case of parataxis there is. Accepting that it has no purpose of ﬁnality – unlike traditional plays – the concept would negate the idea of télos. René Pollesch’s or Chuck Mee’s work often like that. uncomfortable kind of ending that disputes about twenty-ﬁve centuries of drama theory and that. depending on the purpose of the artist. I prefer – until I ﬁnd a better one – the preﬁx a-. The alternative to these structures is often fragments presented without a rational logic but connected through other ways. I think. each fragment carries the same weight within the whole.48 Psychosis can be used as an example for this mode.THE ‘ATELEOLOGICAL ENDING’ IN FRAGMENTED THEATRE WORKS What kind of ending would avoid ﬁnality? What happens when on the last page or in the last seconds before the blackout on stage we come to an end according to our watches but not to the inherent time of the theatre text or performance? And if the plot does not offer any kind of resolution. In these cases the reader or the audience is not able to identify a story. often induced by the illusion of an eternal repetition. requires new terms that ﬁx its own form and meaning. no possible connection between the fragments. I will explain what these ways could be. I see three possible ‘functions’ of the ending: (1) an apparently random interruption of the performance. . in three 119 principal ways: centrifuge. The third alternative is the most radical one: the rhizome. due to its innovative nature. most postdramatic performances are a hybrid of the ﬁrst and the second kinds. in these fragmented plays. because that itself would then include the idea of linearity. for example. which place or meaning does the ending in such plays have? We cannot use terms like ‘dénouement’ or ‘termination’ for an ending that is no longer a logical consequence of a linear structure. The ﬁrst depends on a centre or axis. However. We start at least with an assertion: that this kind of ending appears in texts and performances that avoid the traditional Aristotelian structure of ‘beginning-middle-end’ and the linear scheme of cause-effect. (3) a projection of the performance. In principle. (2) a goal in itself (like Wolfgang Iser indicates in his book The Implied Reader ). However. of Biljana Srbljanovic’s or Rafael Spregelburd’s plays). the happening is the theatrical form that Deleuze most appreciated. After identifying these alternatives in the disposition of the fragment. no hierarchy. However. in a rhizome there is no centre. But there are other artists that invent a play by means of different kinds of intuitions or images without thinking in a logical structure. Hans-Thies Lehmann deﬁnes parataxis as a common trait in postdramatic theatre. would it still be a proper ‘plot’? My doctoral research has been an attempt to ﬁll the gap in critical discourse about a special. although there is no hierarchy between the fragments.
In dance. the theatre text today is just one element among many components of the theatre production. REFERENCE Iser. which introduces media aesthetics to the stage. What. Which theatre. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.1. In my opinion. 2. performance and dance do you regard as being important for future dramaturgies? In theatre: the hyperrealistic tendency. is the main responsibility of dramaturgy today? Do theatre and performance need dramaturgs? And how are their situation and working methods changing? The contemporary dramaturg should be in permanent contact with the stage and should prepare texts for the space and the performers. In any case. in your opinion. as exempliﬁed by some works of Jan Lauwers and Chuck Mee. 120 . the happening form. 4. Die Zehn Gebote by Christoph Marthaler. What are the institutional frameworks that should be changed in order to encourage and enable interesting theatre work? I come from Barcelona. Der Idiot by Frank Castorf. Isabella’s Room by Jan Lauwers. In performance. I am interested in the pieces of Trisha Brown and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Red House by John Jesurun. Prater Saga by René Pollesch. I think the majority of future dramaturgies will refuse the linear/dramatic form and will chose the paratactic or even the rhizomatic forms. Furthermore. performance or dance production in recent years did you ﬁnd particularly important? Eraritjaritjaka by Heiner Goebbels. the ‘professional’ manner of most of our theatre prevents the small productions from being presented. Wolfgang (1974) The Implied Reader: Patterns of communication in prose ﬁction from Bunyan to Beckett. too. and in my country there is a huge difference between alternative theatre and conventional theatre. Which artistic tendencies in theatre. Tale of Two Cities by Heather Woodbury. I would like our government to ﬁnance the radical theatre and the small theatre spaces. 3.
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