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Title: Canonical plays in contemporary European directors' theatre : Shakespeare, Ibsen and Brecht
Author: Maagerø, Lars Harald
ISNI:       0000 0004 9357 3544
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2020
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The canon, the way it is formed and the ideologies it supports and expresses have been thoroughly criticised in academic contexts over the last sixty years. In the theatre, however, canonical plays are continuously reproduced, often with specific ideas on how the plays relate to contemporary times, to contemporary situations and to contemporary experiences. This thesis explores why and how the canon (particularly plays by Shakespeare, Ibsen and Brecht) is reproduced by six contemporary European theatre directors (Emma Rice and Joe Hill-Gibbins from the UK, Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson and Christopher Rüping from Germany, and Alexander Mørk-Eidem and Sigrid Strøm Reibo from Norway). Drawing on the theories of Chantal Mouffe on agonism and 'critical art', the thesis investigates whether theatrical reproduction of the canon always leads to reconstituting the hegemonic values and ideologies contained in and expressed through the canon, or whether theatrical interventions in the canon can challenge such values and ideologies, and thereby also challenge the dominant ideologies and hegemonies of contemporary culture and society. The main findings and arguments are tied to a self-reflective quality identified in the directors' work. These directors do not only reproduce the canon, but through their staging choices - related to questioning the canon, their own relationship to it, and the very situation their productions constitute - they continually and explicitly investigate what it means to reproduce the canon today and in their particular contexts. Their productions are not clear examples of Mouffe's 'critical art', but their self-reflective attitude can be seen as a move towards this kind of art, because the hegemonic order (either constituted by the canon or the theatrical situation) is never taken for granted but is always challenged and seen as up for negotiation. As such, while not countering all the problematic features of the canon, this kind of theatre can be viewed as a move toward a more critical engagement with the canon in the theatre.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available