June 21, 2021

Theater as a contemporary agora | Culture

Theater as a contemporary agora | Culture



Traditionally the theater has been a space to develop fictions: tragedies, dramas or comedies born from the imagination of a dramatist. But it has been a long time since it is not only that: since the cinema and television saturate the world of narrations, the scenic discipline has been forced to renew itself and, among other mutations, today it is usual to see shows without characters or stories. Let's call it post-dramatic theater or, simply, the form that this old art has found to reflect the complex contemporary reality.

In this context we must understand the current rise of non-fiction in the scenarios. And not only documentary theater – with good examples in Spain as Ruz-Bárcenas, The bread and salt, El Rey, Camargate and the still unused Jauría-, but also of montages based on essays, biographies, philosophical writings or journalistic reports. It seems that the theater wants to take on the role of agora to think in community, which does not mean that emotions will not be found in this type of works: contemporary scenic art, with its hybridization of languages, has very powerful resources to maintain caught the viewer without the need to resort to fast-paced plots.

As this season triumphs on Broadway, the work based on The Lifespan of a Pan, which is precisely about the delicate border that separates reality from fiction, in London it has been released this autumn A Small Place, adaptation of the book in which the writer Jamaica Kincaid gathers her reflections on colonialism, while the scenic version of the film is about to be presented A Very Expensive Poison, Luke Harding's journalistic investigation into the dark murder of the Russian Alexander Litvinenko. Another European example is offered by the acclaimed director of the Berlin Schaubühne, Thomas Ostermeier, who took the autobiographical essay last year. Return to Reims, of the French sociologist Didier Eribon.

Spain is not alien to this current either. Precisely these days is on the bill Praise of laziness, a production of the National Drama Center based on two essays, the Praise of idleness by Bertrand Russell and The right to laziness of Paul Lafargue. This same institution will premiere in April Shock 1 The Condor and The Puma, inspired in The doctrine of shock, Naomi Klein's book on the consequences of the free market, applied in particular to Pinochet's coup d'état in Chile.

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