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|Embodiment in Post-Somatic, Postdramatic Russian New Drama
|Weygandt, Elena Susanna
|Emerson, Caryl G
|Slavic Languages and Literatures Department
Russian New Drama
|Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
|At the intersection of performance studies and ethnographic research, my dissertation is set in late and post-Soviet Russia, when a group of playwrights put forward a radical critique of the conventions of embodiment in theater as pioneered by Stanislavsky. Embodiment, for Stanislavsky, celebrated the body as the all competent agent by encouraging actors to think and move like their characters. Stanislavsky set the standards for character embodiment in the context of modernism, a period steeped in expressionist dance that celebrated the body as the all competent agent. Today, however, New Drama playwrights are creating a standard of embodiment that is revolutionary for their time by locating agency not in the body, but outside of it. Overturning the traditional dramatic structure and the locus of the hero’s body that holds it together, the writers draw upon material culture, sound, and linguistic play – and activate these hitherto underplayed elements. My method of analysis allows me to talk about objects, voice, and linguistic gesture—materials which traditional criticism of Russian drama omits. What is absolutely 21st century here, in my view, is a new technology of signs to fill in as surrogates for agency. I connect the idea of sign substitution to themes in the postdramatic as advocated by Hans-Thies Lehmann. Postdrama still has certain parts that belong to the expectations of a dramatic whole, but they deviate from the norm. A clear example is the hollow hero. Despite this lacuna, as the New Drama reveals, theater can sustain itself by reverting to lived-in sites and representations through sound. I decided to employ the conceptual framework of the postdramatic after attending Russian festivals where Lehmann is cited. What I find to be cutting-edge are these alternative forms of embodiment that produce more poignant impressions on the audience than physical mimetic representations, and thus contribute to the heightened sense of reception surrounding the plays. Ultimately, New Drama is connecting the audience to the stage in unique ways that I would like to share with performance scholars.
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|Type of Material:
|Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
|Appears in Collections:
|Slavic Languages and Literatures
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