Very interested in actively supporting this. Have contributions which I would be interestd in making to the "dictionary" entries, as some of my current work investigates foundational theatre terminology generated by Meyerhold in first years of the twentieth century, seeking to reinstate the philosophical overtones/context of that language.
Also, there is an event which I would like to document, in which I am myself involved; a shift at PSi 15. Although it is perhaps premature, by way of thinking toward that possible first issue, below are a rough description of that shift, and my thoughts on its potential interest to the working group.
The Shift, co -curated by Michael Hunter (Stanford) and myself, is to be "a staged assemblage of interpretative acts — performance, criticism, dramaturgy, and direction — prepared separately, and performed live, in parallel, in an improvised response to/collision with one another and with a PSi audience." Excerpt from original proposal:
"Taking as a starting point the opening of Genet's The Maids, on which a number of us have previously worked together, we would like to explore, in a public forum, some of the ways in which our past collaboration has shaped our current work, both theoretical and practical. We will perform this scene a number of times, simultaneously with fragments of our own "texts" — where "text" might mean a piece of theoretical or critical writing, a directorial concept, a set of dramaturgical questions, or another scene from a performer's repertoire. The participants will push the scene in different directions, based on the discursive connections which emerge over the course of the shift. Crucially, we will also invite the audience to re-shape the scene, either directly or through the live dramaturg, Kyle Gillette. Rather than "reading" the scene through any one discursive construction and directing it to fit that, we aim to put all of the elements (text, scene, gesture; dramaturgical inquiry, performer's/director's concept; audience response; academic paper) in a non-hierarchical relation to each other which mirrors and extends the nature of our own productive collaborations as a group of friends and colleagues.
We have chosen The Maids because of its status within the European avant-garde tradition, as an ur-text of the performative nature of human interaction; because of its status in our own collaborative history, as a text to which we have repeatedly returned as a site of critical and artistic investigation; and because of its implicit "rehearsal" structure, of stops, starts, failures, repetitions."
This piece of of potential interest to our group, I think,
1 because of its attempt to enfold thinking/making (and, potentially, documenting) into a single event
2 because of its insistence on framing artistic theory in a non-hierarchichal relationship to artistic practice
3 because of its staging of theory as performative ritual (via the lens of The Maids)
4 because of some of the intersections between performance and philosophy being explored by the participants. By way of example, I quote a passage from our project description, by one of the performer-presentes, Rachel Joseph:
"Rachel Joseph: Performer, Presenter
Rehearsals for our production of The Maids often circled back to questions of rehearsal, theatricality, and quotation, particularly quotation of cinema. My own scholarship since the time of the production has focused on the relationship between theatre and cinema and my construction of Solange mirrored this developing theoretical interest. My construction of Solange primarily became an internal map of cinematic reference. However, for example, my take on Gloria Swanson's performance in Sunset Blvd. was not intended to mimic her performance correctly, reproducing it so that people would recognize the quotation of Gloria Swanson. Instead, each of the filmic images used became a kind of scaffolding for the theatricality of quotation itself to play out.
Misreading the quotation is the act that gives Solange identity, allowing for what Slavoj Zizek terms "the Real within the fantasy" to emerge. Without misreading, Solange would only be reproduction of fantasy. Zizek's recent performance in Sophie Fiennes' A Pervert's Guide to Cinema stands out as a potent example of the relationship between quotation and misreading, particularly in relationship to our work in The Maids, and larger questions of the relationship between performance and theory. Zizek's performance of the cinematic quotations he discusses has a disembodied quality somewhere between theatre, theory, and cinema. At the same time, Zizek's embedding of himself within the film fixes him within the frame as performer. The quotation becomes Zizek's stage. In this way, quotation is always both a misreading and inherently theatrical."
Kathryn Mederos Syssoyeva, PhD