Playing with Politics. Self-Contextualisation of Theatrical Events

Schappach, Beate (25 April 2019). Playing with Politics. Self-Contextualisation of Theatrical Events (Unpublished). In: Contextualizing Theatrical Events. University of Valletta, Malta. 24. bis 26. April 2019.

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The starting point of this paper are two results of the Theatrical Event working group meeting held in Amsterdam 29 March until 1 April 2017: Peter Peasey suggested to differentiate between context as a reference system and contextualising as a process. This distinction provides a more precise analysis of the relationship between theatrical events and their contexts. I consider context and contextualising two different approaches to the same subject. The first asks what is referred to. The latter asks how it is referred to. In his contribution Matthias Warstat discussed the strategies of self-contextualisation of applied theatre. He argued that applied theatre is not so much set in a specific context, but it rather produces its own context using theatrical and non-theatrical means. I suggest to widen the application of this approach to different kinds of theatre productions by asking how theatrical events explicitly or implicitly contextualise themselves. Based on these considerations the analysis focuses on the following questions: 1. What does the theatrical event refer to? 2. How does it contextualise itself? Which theatrical means are used in what way? 3. How can the relationship of the respective theatrical events and their contexts be described, e.g. as interaction, appropriation or intervention? The paper sheds light on three theatre productions dealing with contemporary political issues: a. “Murx den Europäer! Murx ihn! Murx ihn! Murx ihn! Murx ihn ab! Ein patriotischer Abend von Christoph Marthaler“ (Do Away With the European! Do Away with Him! Do Away with Him! Do Away with Him! Do Him In! A Patriotic Evening by Christoph Marthaler, translation BS), Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Berlin 1993. b. “Stunde Null oder Die Kunst des Servierens. Ein Gedenktraining für Führungskräfte” (The Zero Hour or the Art of Serving. A Practice of Remembrance for Executives, translation BS), Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg 1995. c. “San Francisco” by the Dutch performance company “De warme Winkel”, Amsterdam / touring production 2014.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Theater Studies

UniBE Contributor:

Schappach, Beate


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Beate Schappach

Date Deposited:

30 Sep 2019 15:15

Last Modified:

30 Sep 2019 15:15

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Context, Theatrical Event, Ecologies, Politics, Aesthetics, Performance, Performance Analysis, Christoph Marthaler, De Warme Winkel


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