Theatre, theatricality and resistance : some contemporary possiblities
Theatre, Theatricality, and Resistance is concerned with how certain elements of contemporary Western - mainly British and Hungarian - culture are manifested through theatrical activity, both on and off stage. In so doing, the thesis asks the extent to which resistance is pc'ssible in contemporary theatre and theatricality. The thesis argues that conventional Western theatre is grounded in escapism and nostalgia. Restricted by its own institutional system, ideological function, and commercial aims, conventional theatre reaffirms the spectators' psychological and emotional desires, and confirms the hegemonic views and assumptions of contemporary postindustrial societies. In so doing, it silences the various voices available in society and erases even the possibility of resistance. Then the thesis proposes that while theatre is regarded as a marginalized commodity on the cultural market, theatricality has now produced a number of new practices in postindustrial societies. As the everyday appears as representation in various, constantly evolving and continuously improvised, collective and individual cultural perfor'nances, theatricality is not only thoroughly utilised by dominant social groups, but is also open to resistant voices left out of public discourses. These voices express their resistance by rewriting the means, practices, and strategies that the dominant culture employs. Finally, the thesis investigates those theatre practices (labelled `resistant') that are alert to recent changes in theatricalised society. These practices reconsider social, political, and cultural boundaries; confront logocentricity; and place equal emphasis on 2 visual, oral, textual, and proximal elements, as well as the audience's creative-interactive participation. Theatre can thus reflect on the anomalies of the theatricalised society, social and sexual (in)difference, gender assumptions, and ethnic stereotyping, and resist the lure of power. Through these practices, theatre may attain complexity, endangering institutions, hierarchies and power, and offer alternatives to the dominant ideology by fusing popular and high culture, and giving visual, textual, intellectual and sensual pleasure to its participants.