Humanities Cláudia Tatinge Nascimento 4/13/2015
Sitting at pale reproductions of what Realism once was, audiences forget that the theatrical experience once elicited passionate philosophical debates and provoked riots at opening nights. What sets the theatrical endeavor apart is its capacity to move from the stage to the streets, between real and fictional, through material and virtual presences, away from or towards the body. Theater exists with or without text, speaks across gender, race, and class, and has always employed a broad array of performing and visual arts. The anxiety provoked by its shape-shifting properties lies at the core of a longstanding anti-theatrical prejudice. The antipathy that theater meets with today does not do justice to its history. As a result, some of the most innovative contemporary productions are viewed as “performance” rather than “theater.” Taking The Seagull’s exposition of a turning-point moment in theater history as a warning tale, this talk explores how today’s anti-theatrical prejudice is blind to many of this art form’s recent accomplishments.