Selecting Contexts. One Method of Selecting Contexts for Theatre Historiography

Kotte, Andreas (13 June 2016). Selecting Contexts. One Method of Selecting Contexts for Theatre Historiography (Unpublished). In: Presenting the Theatrical Past – IFTR World Conference. Stockholm. 12.-17.06.2016.

In principle, the world and life itself are the contexts of theatrical events. The term context is broad and thus seems hardly usable. It only makes sense to use the term when terminologies and methodologies determine which parts of their contexts are to be incorporated and analysed for which theatrical event. This presentation exemplifies a method which is particularly suitable for sensibly selecting the most important contexts for research in theatre history. The complexity of the representation increases continuously from The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life to Brecht’s “Street Scene” and “Everyday Theatre”, portrayals of rulers in feasts and parades to Hamlet productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company or a Wagner opera in Bayreuth. The different forms of theatre thus constitute a continuum which spans from “everyday theatre” to “art theatre”. The representation of the world in this continuum is sometimes questioned by the means of theatre, for example when Commedia dell’arte takes a critical stance towards the representative theatre of the humanists or when playful devices such as reversal, parody and fragmentation challenge the representative character of productions, which is applied by the Vice character for instance. There is a second component that has an impact on the continuum without a theatrical device: attitude, opinion, norms and bans which originate from society. As excerpts of contexts, they refer to single forms of theatre in the continuum. This results in a complex system of four components which evolves from the panorama between the antipodes “everyday theatre” and “art theatre” as well as both spheres of influence of which only one uses theatrical devices. All components interact in a specific time frame in a specific place in a specific way in each case, which can then be described as the theatricality in this time frame. This presentation will deal with what the concept is capable of doing.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Kotte, Andreas


700 Arts
700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Andreas Hans Kotte

Date Deposited:

26 Jul 2016 16:22

Last Modified:

26 Jul 2016 16:22


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