This interdisciplinary symposium brings together Brown faculty from several departments with five invited scholars from the Free University of Berlin to examine “theatricality” and its relationship to goals and methods of performance studies and the humanities.
In everyday parlance the term “theatricality” often implies a suspicious lack of authenticity or truth—an excess of expressive means that must be controlled or monitored. How and with what consequences did theatricality acquire this pejorative meaning in the western world? How does theatricality inhabit cultural practices beyond the theater proper, and how can we explain its pervasive influence in communicative contexts of all kinds?
This symposium explores the appearance of theatricality in diverse cultural performances including opera, political spectacle, popular music, video games, dance and avant-garde theater. We will question how it reproduces or subverts power relations, what role it plays in individual and collective identity formation, how it is reinscribed in newer forms of media, and how it can be manipulated for social and political effects.
This event is free and open to the public.
[a longer description of the Symposium topic]