‘Confronting the present: from representation to reflexion in the Regie-work of Thomas Ostermeier’
A Joint Modern Languages Research Seminar with Peter M Boenisch, Professor of European Theatre at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.
Based on my research collaboration with German theatre director Thomas Ostermeier on contemporary methods of theatre direction, my lecture will discuss some recent productions by Ostermeier as they engage with the political crisis of the present through the medium of theatre. Staging plays from the canon of dramatic classics, such as Shakespeare’s Richard III and Schnitzler’s Professor Bernhardi, but also devising new stage work based on biographical narratives – Didier Eribon’s Retour à Reims and Édouard Louis’ Histoire de la violence – the director responds to the right-wing radicalisation of society, homophobia, the crisis of the left, and the uncertainty about ‘what is to be done’ in these present times. Outlining Ostermeier’s directorial method, I shall argue that the director seeks to further extend the options of contemporary political theatre beyond the limits of representation, subversion, and deconstruction. Attempting to turn theatre into a space for deliberation, but also agonism (in the sense of Habermas and Mouffe, respectively), his productions arrive at a postrealist theatral form, based on the – surprisingly conventional, albeit notably epic – means of narration and story-telling. In particular, spectatorial desire, subjective ideological identification as well as affective involvement are employed in order to invite (or rather, command) the audience – in a purely theatral, and in Slavoj Žižek’s sense ‘interpassive’ way – to reflect on our own individual responsibility of ‘par(t)-taking’ (Rancière) in the drama of our present times.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EVENT IS TAKING PLACE AT BUSH HOUSE, KING'S COLLEGE LONDON.
24 Oct 2018 - 4:15pm