theatre: differences

You may have already noticed that Europe has been a breath of fresh air to this little praščić, in particular the large amount of formally innovative theatre I've been seeing. I have neither space nor time to do an analysis myself, but I've read through a large pile of Anglophone thought on the matter that presents it, in my opinion, rather convincingly as a genuine difference that something could be learned from, not just the proof that all non-Anglos are weird and wrong (which is the more common treatment of difference in these lands). As my Argentinian friend was told in the US, we are ethnic and obscure. Therefore I link:

1. “As a non-German speaker, much of the information was lost on me, but it is striking how far beyond anything we’d be prepared to call “theatre” in Britain Soko Sao Paulo goes.”

2. “I think even now there's an obsession there with box office as opposed to content,” he says. “That's the big difference between Europe and Australia – not the venues, the artists, the audience or the box office. Companies in Europe get funding that enables them to produce work, whereas for most venues in Australia that funding goes into the infrastructure, into paying salaries, and the box office is expected to finance the actual productions.”

3. “Watching a panel debate including a presentation by __ __ of UK theatrical pioneers Blast Theory, in which he suggested that theatre was a contract between audience and performer (I paraphrase – a lot), the German sitting next to me turned and asked, “but isn't theatre the contract between the artist and the audience, that everything staged is a sign?” (cf. Berliner Erika Fischer-Lichte’s 1983 book Theatre semiotics). It's a fascinating difference in perception. Similarly, in a conversation with Tomas, the Latvian writer, he explained that he was studying/had studied in his university's faculty of visual arts, which – naturally, he thought – included theatre. Obviously this is surprising to a Briton who is brought up to think of theatre as a subset of “Literature”. The gulf in thinking could not be more usefully and starkly rendered. [Andrew is excellent in this.]

4. “Their productions may fit the category ‘text-based’, yet they go beyond conventionally representing texts realistically or symbolically; instead, they embody, visualize and spatialize their narratives. Thus, mises-en-scène are created which are no longer hierarchically structured, dominated by the God-like authority of the TEXT, nor driven by the representation of narratives, thus presenting them not (only) as discourse but (primarily) as site of experience, and no longer in the dull (British) mode of a dutiful representation (fostered in the UK by an outrageously enslaving copyright system that denies the directors and their ensemble any right of intervention in the staging of a text, a system that was implemented in the 1830s when the middle-classes hijacked the control over popular theatre and still remains untouched and unchallenged today), but of a creative presentation.” [research project description, but wonderfully phrased]