Honors | Four Theatrical Thinkers - Artaud, Brecht, Beckett, Beuys (HON)
H303 | 31736 | Eyal Peretz


TuTh 1:00-2:15pm
SW 103

This class meets with CMLT-C 355.

The 20th century saw the culmination of a new type of figure in
Western culture, a figure that started to emerge in the late 18th
century, the era of the French revolution. This figure is the
theatrical thinker.  By theatrical thinker we will mean two things:
1) first, we will mean a thinker, or a philosopher, who, in the
course of examining some of the traditional philosophical
questions,” what is truth?”, “what is beauty?”, “what is the meaning
of life?” etc. finds himself or herself needing to resort to a
serious thinking of the idea of theater as well as of the theatrical
tradition. 2) Second, and this will be our main focus, we will be
interested in the theatrical thinker as someone who writes dramas
and directs plays, but for whom this activity is not just about
writing and directing, but involves the much grander ambition of a
total re-conception and revolutionizing of the entirety of
humanity.  In his/her capacity of a revolutionary this theatrical
thinker will become a theoretician of theater, whose theoretical
pronouncements will deal both with the specific elements of the
theatrical arts – acting, staging, etc. - as well as with the way in
which the thinking of these elements implies a transformation of
humanity as such and of the meaning of human existence. We will
start with briefly taking a look at three foundational figures of
this tradition, from the era of the French revolution, Diderot,
Schiller, and Wagner, and will spend most of our time examining four
20th century figures, the theoreticians of drama and playwrights
Artaud, Brecht, and Beckett, and the avant-garde performance artist,
Joseph Beuys.

Readings include – Diderot, Schiller, Wagner, Artaud, Brecht,
Beckett, Beuys, as well as screening of some of their theatrical
productions and performance art pieces.