Mapping Theatres of Exile I
- Joseph Cermatori (Columbia University), Kate Bredeson (Reed College)
In his 2012 article “Dramaturgies of Exile”, Freddie Rokem writes about Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht’s exile in
Denmark in the 1930s: together they wrote, dined, discussed theatre and philosophy, and played board games including Go and Chess. Rokem argues that their game-playing echoed their own personal trajectories of travel and exile, as well as embodied game board mappings of their philosophical and artistic theories
Following in this genealogy of dramaturgical mappings, we seek to discuss the particular ways that theatre encounters and enacts problems of movement and positioning, with a particular focus on the question of exile. We aim to investigate exile in the most basic sense of the word – a person in a place away from her home, often under threat of some kind from that home, as was the case with Brecht and Benjamin. We are equally interested in expanded notions of exile, where the term’s denotations of dislocation, boundary crossing, and displacement resonate with fundamental aspects of theatre and performance-related phenomena.
Topics of conversation could include:
- What particular questions arise from theatre-makers in exile?
- How do exile and boundaries of state and nation shape performance history?
- What role does the body play in mapping time, space, and boundaries?
- As with Brecht and Benjamin, what is the role of collaboration in exile?
- How do theatre and exile intersect within historical contexts?
- How do mappings of time and space in performance change in the world of Google Earth, GPS, and satellite surveillance?
SEMINAR KEYWORDS: theater, performance, drama, dramaturgy, theater theory, philosophy, media, literature,
movement, position, temporality, spatiality, exile