Dynamic Spatial Relations in Contemporary French Theatre
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CitationGonis, Ifigenia. 2020. Dynamic Spatial Relations in Contemporary French Theatre. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation examines the dynamics of the spectator/spectacle relationship in contemporary French theatrical production, with a focus on four public theatres in the Greater Paris region. It posits that these dynamics can be understood not only through an analysis of live performance, but also through putting said performances in context with the perspectives of the artistic directors who are responsible for deciding on seasonal programming. Understanding these dynamics, as well as the politics that underscore them, is key to understanding not only the present status of the public theatre in the city—and, more generally, in France at large—, but also of the manner in which the theatre as a publicly-funded institution interacts with an increasing emphasis on the plurality, rather than the homogenization, of its perspective publics.
The history of the public theatre in France is largely tied to that of decentralization: the effort to disseminate sites of cultural production out to the various regions and departments of France as an attempt to counter both perceived over-commercialization, as well as the perception of Paris as a dominant cultural center. Following the creation of the Ministry of Culture in 1959, under minister André Malraux, one of the more concrete efforts of decentralization was the inaugurating of sites of cultural production around the country as a means through which to foster a sense of national unity following the divisions of the Second World War. Fifty years later, it is this perspective of the role of the public theatre as a unifier that must be examined further, especially in consideration of the social shifts alluded to above.
This dissertation is structured around first a look at the history of theatre decentralization in France followed by analyses of live performances from the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 seasons of the following theatres: La Colline Théâtre National (Paris), Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers (Nanterre), MC93-Bobigny (Bobigny) and le Théâtre de la Bastille (Paris). These analyses will be further contextualized within the perspectives of the artistic directors of each theatre, establishing a means to examine the politics of spectator/spectacle relational dynamics from beyond just the live performance event itself.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365993
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