The Sub-Psychodrama: a New Dramatic Form by Jean-Luc Lagarce
Keywords:Lagarce, contemporary French drama, word drama, psychodrama, sub-psychodrama
It is exactly by a neologism of a “sub-psychodrama” that the playwright and French director Jean-Luc Lagarce (1957-1995) defined one of his plays. The similarities between psychodramatic practices and Lagarce’s dramatic works are obvious. As in the context of psychodramatic practice, Lagarce’s characters take on roles and identify with them from a carnal as well as linguistic point of view. The situation in which Lagarce’s characters meet is very close to that which is, among others, treated by psychodramatists: the dialogue is not initialized, the individuals are stuck in their reproaches and focus only on their own points of view. Lagarce’s characters use the theatricalization, the putting in voice of a dramatic text of one of them in order to launch the speech that awaited this moment of expression. The sub-psychodrama, while being a poetic and dramatic concept of Lagarce, reveals the dialogical malaise in the contemporary society that the sub-psychodrama quotes while highlighting the complex mechanisms of the intersubjective perception as well as the mechanisms of our individual and collective memory. Both reflective self-perception, which goes from oneself to oneself, and transitive perception, which goes from oneself to the other or from the other to oneself – in the context of a speech act. The subpsychodrama presents itself, therefore, as a dialogical and perceptive field of battle where the spoken word is in search of its answer. The sub-psychodrama invented and developed by Lagarce puts the concept of paper beings – linguistic puppets – at the same level, while promoting the coalition of puppet theater and word drama.
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