The poetics of theatrical events which never happened (new study)

“I would like to draw attention to the difficulty presented by artifacts of performances that never happened—what I call performance nonevents.”

– explains professor Pannill Camp, Associate Professor of Drama, and Chair, Performing Arts Department, at Washington University in St. Louis, US. in a recent essay for the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism.

 

“First, I will outline a critique of event-centric theatre criticism and historiography. The notion that theatre is an event helps us account for the temporality and material elements that set performance apart from other arts, while facilitating its emplotment within theatre history. But this notion also hinders our ability as scholars to recognize theatrical constructs not connected to performances that actually ‘take place’. “

Professor Camp reminds us that :

“Performance nonevents have a poetic status, existing in a possible world, subsisting in perceptions produced in a process intended to bring the event about, and capable of more or less perfection by virtue of their clarity, vividness, and interconnectedness.”

And, in so doing :

“I hope to have, in a preliminary way, invited those of us who think about theatre and performance to pick up a wide range of materials we might otherwise be inclined to put down.”

See: The Poetics of Performance Nonevents , Pannill Camp, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Volume 32, Number 2, Spring 2018.

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