Fragments on de-dramatizing

(from Hans-Thies Lehmann: Postdramatic theatre)

75: “This procedure of a postdramatic isotony, where peaks or climaxes are avoided, lets the stage apear as a tableau. /…/
In Grübers work, /…/ everything takes place in an atmosphere that could be entitled ‘After all discussions’. There is nothing to debate any more. What is executed and spoken here has the character of a necessary, quasi-ceremonially performed, agreed upon rite.
Drama, as an exemplary form of discussion, stakes everything on tempo, dialectic, debate and solution (dénouement). But for a long time now drama has lied. Its spirit, or rather its ghost, has moved from the theatre into the cinema and increasingly into television. There the possibilities of simulating reality are much greater”.

194n28: [isotony] “From the Freek ‘isotonos’, equally streched, of equal tension or tone. In science used to describe liquids of the same osmotic pressure or concentration of molecules.”

85: “postdramatic theatre is not simply a new kind of text of staging – /…/ it bcomes more presence than representation, more shared than communicated experience, more process than product, more manifestation than signification, more energetic impulse than information.”

101: “in the postdramatic theatre of the real the main point is not the assertion of the real as such (as is the case in the mentioned sensationalist products of the porn industry) but the unsettling that occurs through the indecidability whether one is dealing with reality or fiction. /…/
Theatre is a practice, however, which like no other forces us to realize ‘that there is no firm boundary between the aesthetic and the extra-aesthetic realm’.”

109: “One often feels as though one is witnessing not a scenic representation but a narration of the play presented. Here the theatre is oscillating between extended passages of narration and only interspersed episodes of dialogue”.

112-113: “Scenic essay
/…/ ‘Theoretical’, philosophical or theatre aesthetic texts are dragged out of their familiar abode in the study, university or theatre studies course and presented on stage – by no means without an awareness of the fact that the audience might tend to think that the actors ought to devote themselves to such occupations before the performance. companies and directors use the means of theatre to ‘think aloud’ publicly or to make theoretical prose heard.”

151: “Here one organizational principle can be highlighted that is also peculiar to classical painting: the actors on stage repeatedly behave like spectators watching what other performers are doing.”

90: “Exceeding the norm, just as much as undercutting it, results in what could be described less as a forming than a deforming figuration. Form knows two limits: the wasteland of unseizable extension and labyrinthine chaotic accumulation. Form is situated midway.”

150: “In general it can be said that dramatic theatre has to prefer a ‘medium’ space. Tendentially dangerous to drama are the huge space and the very intimate space. In both cases, the structure of the mirroring is jeopardized.”

171: “This is where the alternative to the electronic image resides: art as a theatrical process that actually preserves the virtual dimension, the dimension of desire and not knowing. Theatre is first of all anthropological, the name for a behaviour (playing, showing oneself, playing roles, gathering, spectating as a virtual or real form of participation), secondly it is a situation, and only then, last of all, is it representation. Media images are – in the first and the last place – nothing but representation. /…/
The body or face in video is enough – for itself and for us. By contrast, an air of (productive) disappointment always surrounds the presence of real bodies. /…/
The electronic image lacks lack, and is consequently leading only to – the next image, in which again nothing ‘disturbs’ or prevents us from enjoying the plenitude of the image.”

173: “Aristotle (and in his wake almost the entire Western theory of the theatre) demands that tragedy has to be a whole with beginning, middle and end. Of course this was a paradoxical concept, since in reality – even in narrated reality – such a ‘beginning’, i.e. something that according to Aristotle has no presuppositions, simply does not exist; and neither does an ‘end’, i.e. something that has no consequences. What Aristotle articulates here, however, in his only seemingly self-evident formula, is nothing but the abstract formula for the law of all representation. The whole with beginning, middle, and end is the frame.”


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