Contemporary Theatre Challenged by the Classics: Starting with MolièreVol. 68 No. 2 (2023)
Four hundred years after the baptism of the great master of 17th century French stage, numerous works have been dedicated to him all over the world. New shows, new readings, adaptations and rewritings of his plays have emerged over the past year, reopening debate on the topicality of his themes, the audacity of his frontal approach to the problems of society, his inexhaustible double-edged comedy and his ability to reinvent characters borrowed from cultural heritage, from Antiquity to the times of Louis XIV. As the entire theatrical world celebrated Molière in 2022, Studia Dramatica 2/2023 issue proposes to change the perspective and look at how Molière and classics have been approached and revisited above all outside French borders, through a number of writings and daring mise-en-scenes. The reader will thus find interesting articles and studies about the criticism of Molière's work over time, about its reception in contemporary theatre and the revisiting of the classics, about how much and why Molière was staged during the communist period, and about theatre teaching that knows or does not know how to take advantage of the combination of music and drama, also starting from the innovations brought by the great French playwright. Challenging interviews with composer Jean-Jacques Lemêtre, director Mihai Măniuțiu, professor Anca Măniuțiu and director Tompa Gábor, as well as several reviews of performances, books and theatre festivals, round off this issue.
Corporeal Narratives in Performing and Visual ArtsVol. 68 No. 1 (2023)
The advent of the virtual body is related with the birth of the hyper-narrative, the non-linear story that enable the space navigation of the computer games’ player and make possible the encounter of the user with digital interfaces and databases. Thus, we invited scholars and practitioners to explore and contribute to the study of the human/human-like body as prevalent in relation to the narrative world/space/plot in performing and visual arts.
Stage Directing and Theatre Pedagogy NowadaysVol. 67 No. 2 (2022)
”After the hypothetical death of the author in the '60s, the apparent death of the director is often circulated today. Is the director really dead, or transformed, or is he in a state of crisis?” Patrice Pavis asks in Contemporary European Theater Directors, published by Routledge Publishing House, in its first edition on April 4, 2010. Reviving this question now, during and after the pandemic crisis, but also whenever a new training cycle for theater directors begins, we find ourselves able to strengthen it by asking another question: taking into consideration the fact that this disappearance of the theater director was predicted, why is still considered the true pedagogue of the art of theatre?
Reinstalling culture as common good and public serviceVol. 67 No. 1 (2022)
Since time can no longer be turned back and the separation of culture from the creative industries in public policy making does not seem a viable long-term solution, how can we re-initialize the public service dimension of culture in a society undergoing such profound transformation? How can we rethink the public mission of culture in a context where the trend in European / Western countries is towards the reduction and privatization of the sector through various austerity measures? These questions lead us back towards others such as why do we fund culture and who does/should it serve?
The articles published in this issue can constitute a broad argument for the re-renewal of cultural policies in their own language and spirit, connected to social changes as effects of the current multiple crises, putting an emphasis on culture as a common good and public service.
The Living Archives: Saving and Activating the Heritage of Performing and Visual ArtsVol. 66 No. 2 (2021)
Studia UBB Dramatica no. 2/2021 proposes to researchers in the fields of performing arts, film, visual arts, history, cultural studies, museography, social sciences and humanities a thematic issue dedicated to the preservation and activation of archival heritage, be it textual (documents, chronicles, letters, journals, advertising), iconographic, filmic, or performative.
The intention is not only to highlight the patrimonial, research and reflection values of archives of any kind, but also to propose new, dynamic, revealing formulas, methodologies, and projects to activate this field, through bold and reliable initiatives for information distribution in the era of instant communication. The main focus will thus be on: classical and innovative archiving systems for the performing and visual arts, including film and media; selection systems between public and personal interest (how to filter and select personal archives); image archiving, an independent art? video archiving, ordering video archives, their circulation; new models for distributing the archived patrimony to the public; secondary education, vocational education and the importance of heritage archiving and activation; archiving, documentation, capitalization in the performing arts and cinema; ethical, economic, and technical issues in the process of activating the patrimony of performing and visual arts.
The Act and the Show: Performing Arts, Cinema and PsychoanalysisVol. 66 No. 1 (2021)
Studia UBB Dramatica no. 1/2021 aims at questioning the complex relationship between performing arts, cinema and psychoanalysis, in the context of the recent cultural transformations. Theatre, cinema, various forms of performance experienced substantial metamorphoses with the invention, development and spread of new technologies. On the other hand, the branches of psychoanalysis, sometimes convergent, sometimes divergent, were not, at their turn, immune to change. One of the first questions that can be raised concerns the possibility for performative arts and psychoanalysis to keep the special relationship that characterized their interaction in some key moments of history. What are the points in which the dialogue between them is still possible and how this dialogue is emerging?
At a close glance, it is obvious that the act constitutes one of the most solid grounds where performing arts, cinema and psychoanalysis can meet. The focus will thus be on: the theatrical act; the cinematographic act; the theatricalization of the cinematic image; „the filmicity” of theatre; theories of mise-en-scène; psychoanalytical theories of acting in theatre and/ or cinema; act and language in theatre and/ or cinema; the (interior) scene and the actor; psychoanalytic theories of spectatorship.
To be a Theatre Critic and Historian Nowadays. In memoriam MARIA VODĂ CĂPUȘAN (1940 – 2017)Vol. 65 No. 2 (2020)
MARIA VODĂ CĂPUȘAN (1940-2017), to whose memory this special issue of the journal Studia UBB Dramatica is dedicated, has made theatrical exegesis her preoccupation of choice. Proof are her books, numerous articles published in journals, international conferences organized to celebrate Victor Hugo, Marguerite Yourcenar, Mme de Staël, Eugène Ionesco ... Her research testifies to a circular return of a whole series of study themes on theatre, whose unity of design attests to the ambition of an organic edifice that tends towards the construction of a theatrical poetics, understood in its double manifestation, both as dramatic literature and as performance proper.
This issue focuses thus on topics such as: the historical parcourse of theatre from the classic aesthetic canons to the multiple directions of modern and contemporary stage; performative arts and dramatic strategies; playwriting: from a poetical writing to the hybrid contemporary style; linguistic and pragmatic approaches of theatrical discourse: dialogue as verbal interaction, writing down the non-verbal interaction; critical approaches, theatre as an interrogation on itself; opening of theatrical genres towards other arts, erasing of borders; comparative approaches.
Images of Witchcraft: Theatre, Cinema, Visual & Performing ArtsVol. 65 No. 1 (2020)
Studia UBB Dramatica no. 1/2020 gathers experts from various fields in an attempt to propose a multidisciplinary approach to the iconography of witchcraft at the cross points between cinema, theatre and visual arts. The aim is to open new research and reflection perspectives, through various approaches of the image of witches; witchcraft and magic. Here, the notion of the word “image” is meant to encompass broad meanings: mental images, socially mediated (which would be included within the concept of imaginary) as well as aspects that psychoanalysis reunites under the concept of imago will be approached, but the emphasis will be on images imbedded on various supports (cinema, painting) or materialized in specific spaces (theatre). The aim is also to explore the anthropological bases of the formation of artistic representations and, in this sense, witchcraft represents a seminal field of study. In its context arts intercross on most levels with social and mentalities phenomena, with political representations, but also with the logic of refusal, of repression and of violence.
Copy-Past. Revaluating History, Memory and Archive in Cinema, Performing Arts and Visual CultureVol. 64 No. 2 (2019)
Recent developments in academic scholarship and artistic practices in various fields have seen an increasing interest in the productive and intellectual potential of interpreting history, memory and archive. This preoccupation opened up a wide space of analysis and debate that sees the past not only as a passive “has-been” but rather as a probable “would be” - for better or worse. It is noteworthy that one of the most frequent warnings today regarding the political evolution in certain contexts points to the risk of repeating the past - about making the present an uncritical and blind “Copy-Past.”
This 2/2019 issue of our academic journal proposes a double articulation of the concept of past: it proposes equally a discourse of history and a discourse on history. That is, on the one hand, it proposes a discussion addressing the historical factuality (and its historiographic understandings) as well as the mechanisms to work, interpret and visualize historical facts and their relevance in contemporary artistic practice and critical thinking. On the other hand, it proposes to reflect on the methodological and theoretical interpretations stemming from and critically departing from various historicist approaches. More precisely, it proposes to theorize on the very possibility of historicity: the interpreting solutions addressing the evolution of ideas, methodologies and systems of historical and critical research of artistic creation, in relation to the social and political contexts.
Between Shaping Mirrors: Discourses on Performing ArtsVol. 64 No. 1 (2019)
For this current issue of Studia UBB Dramatica we’ve focused our attention on the rhetoric surrounding the contemporary performing arts, in an attempt to identify and chart some of the ways in which today’s artists, scholars, and managers think about, relate and reflect their art and practice. It is not difficult to notice that the subject of theatre criticism in and of itself appears to be tackled with mostly in relation to the axiological crisis the profession is seemingly facing. It is nowadays constantly challenged by practitioners for losing its relevance and for finding itself in a rut, while critics themselves seldom (although more and more often lately) question their own status in today’s society. Likewise, arts journalism must be ceaselessly reshaped in order to fit the new digital paradigm shift. The spectators themselves, through social media and the articles’ comments or rating sections, have developed their own, often dogmatic and aggressive, form of criticism, eschewing analysis and competence in favor of an enamored or ideological discourse. A situation to analyze, discuss and open to new debates.
Romanian Theatre Seen from Outside the Borders: Artistic and Critical Perspectives. Celebrating the Centenary of Modern Romania (1918-2018)Vol. 63 No. 2 (2018)
This second issue of our journal, dedicated in 2018 to the Romanian Theatre on the occasion of the Centenary of the Great Union, aims to reconstruct a kaleidoscopic image of the Romanian theatre seen from abroad, by foreigners, as well as of the Romanian theatre exported and seen abroad. Over the last two centuries, a great number of Romanian actors, singers and performers have been admired on the stages of the Comédie Française, of many theatres and operas in Paris, Vienna and New York. Since the very first avant-gardes, many playwrights have begun to write in Romanian and have continued their careers as theatre makers, writers or critics in France, in other European countries or in the United States. What shall we say about the numerous theatre schools and troupes founded by Romanian directors and theatre people abroad? About festivals that brought Romanian directors, dancers, actors, texts and performances everywhere, especially after the fall of communism? How is Romanian theatre seen from abroad? What were and are its echoes and reverberations, how was it and is it received? What is considered today "exportable" to other neighbouring or more distant cultures?
Romanian Theatre – New Perspectives Celebrating the Centenary of Modern Romania (1918-2018)Vol. 63 No. 1 (2018)
2018 is a special year that marks the centenary of the Union of the three Romanian historical provinces (Muntenia, Moldavia and Transylvania) giving shape, after the First World War, to the modern Romania of today. On this occasion we invite our fellow researchers, theater historians, critics, theater people, to revisit the history of Romanian theater and its present, collaborating in the two issues of the journal of Theater Studies Studia UBB Dramatica that will be dedicated to this festive year:
This first issue aims to revisit the history of Romanian theater in all its forms: ancient (archaic), popular, cult, modern and contemporary. It focuses on Romanian theatrical phenomena, fashions, different dramatic genres, stage innovations, foreign and national models, representative authors for certain dramaturgical directions in the national and European cultural context, directors, theater thinkers and actors who renewed the Romanian scene, theater magazines and also the theatrical events and changes that occurred at the time of the Great Union of 1918. Some themes of interest would be: the image of Romania in Romanian dramaturgy; Romanian theatrical historiography; the Romanian language theater of Transylvania before the Great Union; the theater of minorities (Hungarian, German, Jewish, etc.) before, during and after the Great Union; Romanian folklore and popular theater; Romanian theater and film; Romanian theater one hundred years later...
New Perspectives in Theatre History and CriticismVol. 62 No. 2 (2017)
In the last decades, historical and critical theory studies in the field of performing and visual arts seem to be regarded with certain suspicion: in a global society dominated by technology’s ambition to cover traditional humanities with simple, unfiltered, information arts history and criticism are diverted towards a museum-ghetto besieged by the ghost of irrelevance. Lacking a consensus concerning the relationship between factual, “objective” information and the subjectivity inherent in any interpretation, how could historical and theoretical approaches to performing arts still maintain their relevance? Do recent changes in political and social perspectives strengthen or weaken our axiological systems? In a world of instantaneous information do we still have time and interest for ample research projects – individual or collective – intersecting critical thought and historical reconsideration? Who do these necessary research projects address today and how could we reignite interest towards them in the spaces of national and international cultures?
Narrative Structures in Contemporary Performing ArtsVol. 62 No. 1 (2017)
In the last decades the dynamic theatre teams, changes in directors’ role in a production and collective working models seem to have generated a reconsideration of narrative structures. The emerging performance and dance practices embodied narratives in unique and different ways. The new technologies and the multitude of film and tv series built on modular structures have induced major changes not only in aesthetics, style and artistic offer, but also in terms of generating new narrative forms. Some contemporary theatre makers are considering the actor, playwright and director as equal members of a team, with similar creative responsibilities; in some cases, the writer merges with the director, or even the actor.
A number of questions arise from the new ways of working together: Does the written text still have its importance in performance? Do all these innovations stand as a narrative turn in contemporary performing arts or are they just individual experiments with storytelling? What are the major determining factors of the narrative form? How is the audience engaged by such stories? In order to attempt to answer these questions we are proposing a special, inter- and trans-disciplinary issue of Studia Dramatica, focussed on the investigation of new narrative forms.
DADA > 100: Life / Art / Museum. DADAISM AND PERFORMING ARTS IIVol. 61 No. 2 (2016)
On February 5, 1916, Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings, together with painters Marcel Iancu, Hans Arp and poets Tristan Tzara and Richard Huelsenbeck, inaugurated the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich. This meant, implicitly, the opening of the stage for the assertion of the new artistic movement that would shatter traditional art and that would be an outstanding creative incentive for the new modernist affinities of the early 20th century. From the beginning, DADA, the product of well-directed hazard, had been closely linked with the world of the performing arts, with improvisation, with the staging of self and with the shocking of tame spirits. We can easily see that the brief but very intense lifespan of Dadaism was assisted by a constant theatricalisation of the group members’ life and work.
Based on the strong and intimate connection between Dada and the performing arts, we propose, one hundred years later, in 2016, an investigation into the Dadaist legacy, its revaluation and the understanding of the interest in and the topicality of the Dadaist theories and practices at present.
DADA > 100: Life / Art / Museum. DADAISM AND PERFORMING ARTSVol. 61 No. 1 (2016)
The two issues of Studia Dramatica 2016 are focused on topics such as: What resulted from Dada in the performing arts, in cinema and in the visual arts? Legacy, filiations and transformation; Standardisations of the avant-garde spirit: avant-garde origins of the infra- or post-dramatic performance; Artistic discourse hybridisation: cinematographicity, cinefication, cinematographic and kinetic theatricalisation, theatrical objectification, automation, mechanisation…; Performing arts, cinema and visual arts in the Dada and avant-garde poetry and manifestoes (from poetic staging to cine-poetry); The radical staging of the self – the extreme being, the contemporary “approximate man”; Reality testing – games of fiction and staging, fictionalisation and theatricalization; Wit, farce, challenge: the Dada spirit and beyond; Underlying critique of society by the rule of the performance or the spectacular intrusion (the happenings of the futurists, the Dada soirees etc.); The Dadaist sound sphere: staging the sound, the voice, the word, the human being as musical instrument.
Spectator’s Body, Emotions & EmpathyVol. 60 No. 2 (2015)
The last decades, audience and reception studies in theatre, film, media and video gaming debunked the long-lasting illusion of the (so-called) spectator’s passiveness. Many theories and experiments from brain studies, neurology and psychology confirmed the fact that spectatorship is not a cold mirroring reflection activity, but an active, multi-level, complex, participatory one – even if one speaks about live performance or about film, audio or video art. The new technologies provoked unbelievable changes not only in aesthetic, style and artistic offer, but also in terms of scientific knowledge about spectator’s cognitive, corporal and emotional processes. And, in fact, the spectator/cultural user is the ultimate beneficiary of artistic communication.
This issue is thus focused on the investigation of spectator’s body, emotions and cognition processes; opening the debate on the following themes: otherness, the significant other and spectator’s self; spectatorship and own-body knowledge; emotion and empathy in spectatorship processes; spectator’s body and fictional space’s perception/immersion; visual, sound, haptic and olfactory in performance/film; performativity and interaction: what are we expecting from the spectator?; corporeal and verbal violence on stage/in movies: functions and limitations; spectatorship and pleasure.
The Actor’s Body: Image, Metaphor and SignVol. 60 No. 1 (2015)
In the middle of this civilisation of the Image that we are passing through, of this world of information and fast communication, of simulation and fascination exerted by surface and appearances, in the middle of this age of the “post-biological’’ state, the human body became the crossing-point of interdisciplinary explorations. Taking into consideration the importance of the surfaces, the exterior body, as well as of the deep, inner body, the present-day theatrical visions impose to the actor, more than ever, a body of excellence in matter of corporal expressivity and of knowledge in stylistic adaptation.
More than a century has passed since the anti-naturalistic rebellions of Appia, Craig, Meyerhold, continued by Artaud, who knew how to impose the visual element as a part of theatrical language which has led to a new reading of the actor’s body. Through the stage poetics of practitioners such as J. Copeau, M. Tchekhov, J. Grotowski, J. Lecoq, T. Kantor, E. Barba, A. Mnouchkine, T. Suzuki, R. Wilson, D. Zinder, the entire twentieth century has participated to the achievement of a maximal expressivity of the actor’s body. And we could add the real conquests coming from dance and music, trough the work of artists like Appia; Dalcroze, Rudolf von Laban, Pina Bausch, Mary Overlie, Steven Paxton et Nancy Stark Smith, Tatsumi Hijikata, Gigi Căciuleanu and others.
Which would be thus the new « mises-en-scène » of the actor’s body taking into consideration this rich heritage? Which are the new approaches of the body’s expressivity, the new techniques and methods used in the actors’ instruction and pedagogics?
Mind, Body, Voice: Ways of TheatricalityVol. 59 No. 2 (2014)
In Dramatic Theories of Voice in the Twentieth Century (2011), Andrew Kimbrough notes that the voice has not received very much attention from the part of theatre critics and theorists of the past century, despite the famous linguistic turn of the social and human sciences after Saussure; instead, their interest focused more on the visual side of the performance (the body, the staging) and the dramatic text. Is this observation still valid? How does the actor’s voice relate to the body, to its plasticity, to the physical and visual elements of a performance on the contemporary stage and to the recent theories on theatre? Do contemporary drama and theatre practices encourage the "return of the voice" at the heart of the theatre professionals’ interest?
This issue focuses on topics such as: the voice on stage: the issue of vocal technique; literary language versus everyday language on stage; the different instances of the actor’s voice: inarticulate and articulate speech, recitative, song; the persistence of orality within theatre (in terms of style, but also in terms of cognitive organization): the orality of rehearsals, oral reminiscences within drama (e.g. the influence of rhetoric on Shakespearean drama); the voice and radio drama; the issue of dubbing (movies, animation); the influence of media on the actor’s voice; sound design: sound systems (theatre and film).
Eugenio Barba. Celebrating 50 Years with Odin TeatretVol. 59 No. 1 (2014)
The year 2014 is a special one for all theatre makers, theatre critics or historians and spectators who recognize the extraordinary value of the transformations brought in the European stage world by the research of the artistic laboratories of the sixties. For this year, we celebrate 50 years of existence of the Nordisklaboratorium / Odin Teatret, and thus half a century of fabulous work of theatrical creations that have profoundly marked the way we feel and approach Performative Arts today.
Studia UBB Dramatica joins this great celebration with a special issue conceived together with Eugenio Barba and his close collaborators in Holstebro and proposes a set of articles, studies, interviews and testimonies written by theorists, practitioners, European pedagogues, as well as by members of the famous Odin theatre company or by Eugenio Barba’s close friends. The usual sections of the journal have been enriched by the reprinting of a number of texts published in the 1970’s, in order to renew the memory of a constant work dedicated body and soul to the theatrical creation. A special chapter opens the volume and is focused on the presence of Eugenio Barba and his team in Cluj-Napoca, as well as their reception by Romanian audience in Novembre 2012.
We thus celebrate these extraordinary people who succeeded to give life to the legendary, by making a piece of art of their own existence.