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Evolution and Transition

Abstract

This research focuses on the life of Cardinal Alfonso Visconti reconstructing the years of his religious formation until his arrival in Rome: from the activity carried out at the Congregation of the Oratory founded by San Filippo Neri, to the diplomatic career conducted in the service of the Holy See. After serving in Portugal and Prague, at the court of Rudolf II, between 1595 and 1598 he was sent on a diplomatic mission, as nuncio, to the Prince of Transylvania Zsigmond Báthory. His mission took place in a dramatic historical phase for Danubian-Balkan Europe, threatened by the power of the Turkish “infidel”.

The article aims to reconstruct the main phases of Visconti’s difficult mission, which had been sent to this peripheral part of the continent, but very important on a geopolitical level, with the aim of creating the anti-Turkish crusade so much desired by Pope Clement VIII

Summary

This article explores how audience participation practices were introduced into Lithuanian theatre in the last three decades (between the early ‘90s and the late 2010s) and how the audience participation methods of the 1960s Western theatre are/were being implemented into contemporary Lithuanian theatre projects. The key goal of this article is to examine the evolution of audience participation and collective theatre tradition in Lithuanian theatre by analysing the preconditions for participatory practices in the country’s theatre scene and defining the scope and contradictions of participation in the latest examples of contemporary Lithuanian theatre practices. These contradictions are also apparent in contemporary Western performative practices, which have already distanced themselves from the collective theatre movement of the ‘60s and the ‘70s and the political agenda of the performances of that time, selectively retaining only limited participatory aspects of the environmental theatre culture as a new form of entertainment. Similar limited levels of participation in Lithuanian theatre can be based on a different premise—that changes in spectators’ habitude cannot catch up with the newly (re)introduced theatrical ideas after the 1990s, and that theatre creators are still trying to cautiously synchronise conventional observation tactics and modern theatre hierarchies with the interactive ones, thus slowing down changes in staging and spectatorship strategies as well.

The article focuses on academic texts by Lithuanian theatre researchers Ramunė Balevičiūtė, Rasa Vasinauskaitė, Rūta Mažeikienė, Jurgita Staniškytė, Vaidas Jauniškis, Lina Michelkevičė, and others to illustrate the discourse of audience participation analysis and to present different stages of the participatory tradition in the historiography of Lithuanian theatre. For international context, history, and mechanics of audience participation, texts by Erika Fischer-Lichte, Michael Kirby, Richard Schechner, Gareth White, Gay McAuley, Johan Huizinga, and others are used.

Summary

The article employs concepts of time lag, inspired by Ernst Bloch, and ghost and haunting, borrowed from Jacques Derrida. It also draws on Svetlana Boym’s and Vilém Flusser’s vision of the émigré and on Dominick LaCapra’s and Slavoj Žižek’s interpretations of trauma. The analysis is also informed by Karen Jürs-Munby’s and Cathy Caruth’s views on trauma and its representation in theatre.

This critical apparatus is put into motion in the particular context of BANDIT: a theatre project developed in the UK by two Romanian émigré theatre-makers. The main focus is on exposing links between the references to trauma contained in the theatre piece BANDIT and the makers’ self-imposed artistic exile in the UK. The article seeks to answer the following question: what has pushed us, the makers of BANDIT, to leave our native country and what is our (new) role (as artists) in the country of emigration? The discussion is carried out within the wider context of the vast waves of Romanian emigration to Western Europe (after the fall of the Iron Curtain). The article critiques the troublesome relation of the contemporary Romanian society to its Communist past and the apparent inability and/or unwillingness to deal with the repressed/traumatic memories of that past. Analysis of BANDIT as performance of lingering trauma also references the historical Percentages agreement between Stalin and Churchill—the informal agreement that established spheres of influence in Europe at the end of the Second World War. Identifying the Iron Curtain as the epicentre of traumatic memory for Eastern Europeans, the discussion about BANDIT also makes a reference to Communist crimes against political prisoners committed in Romanian prisons in 1951–1952, put in parallel with the toxic EU referendum campaign in the UK in 2016. Underpinned by Derrida’s thinking, the article explains how the Romanian émigré-artist (as a paragon of the Romanian / Eastern European émigré in general) has to fashion herself into a ghost that haunts the adoptive culture, using artistic exile as a platform for processing the traumatic memories of an unresolved past.

Summary

Lithuanian theatre has always been known for its visual metaphors and dramaturgy of directorial images, where the language of literary text is translated into visual metaphors created on stage by a director. Due to this quality, some critics have argued that Lithuanian theatre has been demonstrating postdramatic characteristics for a long time. However, one should note that visual metaphors of modern Lithuanian theatre have been based on and controlled by literary text and never quite established a more autonomous and self-contained visuality. Dramatic text remained the point of departure whether the director chose to illustrate or concretise it, to transform or deform it. However, in post-Soviet Lithuanian theatre, these relations have been gradually turning discontinuous, their intensity often varied within the framework of the same performance. Fragmentary cracks, when images, departed from the roles of commentators or illustrators of textual meanings, turned into flashes of independent visions that were seen by the critics as an obvious shift towards a radical image-centric position or, to use the term of Hans-Thies Lehmann, postdramatic theatre. However, the recent performance Lokis (2017, Lithuanian National Drama Theatre) by Polish theatre artist Lukasz Twarkowski, produced twenty years after the initial introduction of the term postdramatic into the Lithuanian context, has paradoxically started a storm of divisive opinions in the Lithuanian theatre milieu. It became the focal point of discussions about the intrinsic character of Lithuanian theatre, especially its embedded attitudes towards drama text and acting—notoriously challenging factors for many international collaborations. The article analyses the ongoing debates about the term postdramatic theatre and its interpretations in Lithuanian theatre criticism, taking the example of Lokis as a case study.

Summary

For the purpose of my examination of how literature and art take part in the circulation of significations and representations in the construction of social reality, I concentrate on a specific feature that links and unites the work of four contemporary European authors—the inflation of death and violence, or the “overflow of corpses” in their novels, plays, and performances. My first example will be Bosnian-Croatian theatre director Oliver Frljić, his disturbing, shocking performances in which he uses his own personal, wartime, and political traumas to ask universal questions about the boundaries of artistic and social freedom, individual and collective responsibility, tolerance and stereotypes. As the second and third example I will take plays by two (no longer) dramatic writers, Anja Hilling and Simona Semenič—two outstanding representatives of German and Slovene (no longer) dramatic theatre and drama, exploring in their texts a tension between repetition and representation in which the first mechanism undermines and challenges the second and produces a specific poetic or aesthetic device—an effect of ostranenie or defamiliarisation (Shklovsky). The third example will consist of the novels by Winfried Georg Sebald, in which the German author uses the device of his wanderings between signs, punctuated by black and white photographs, producing a specific emblematic of a mutation of space and time, in which history and geography cross-fertilise, tracing out paths and weaving networks. Besides examining the contestation of subject positions, I concentrate on the dialectics of art and society, where fluid, uncontainable subjects are constantly pushing the contours. Revising the critical consensus that contemporary art primarily engages with the real, the essay describes how theatre and fiction today navigate the complexities of the discourse as well as social realities; how the discussed artists all share the belief that creative expression must also be destruction. Art has to go beyond what we are and what we can identify through understanding. Thus, art negotiates, inflects discursive circulation of stories, idioms, controversies, testimonies, and pieces of (mis)information in the face of global uncertainties.

Abstract

The present study approaches the subject of the diplomatic relation between Italy and the Soviet Union during 1944 and 1945 beginning with 27th May 1944 when Pietro Quaroni, a career diplomat, presented the credentials of ambassador.

Abstract

The Greek-Catholic and Orthodox Deaneries of Târgu Mureş were part of the ceded territory through The Vienna Arbitration. The economic issues that the two deaneries faced during World War II were complex and varied. The first one was related to the seizure of the majority of the harvest collected on the church territory in the autumn of 1940. The living of the clergy and their families was affected also by the payment delayed until February 1941. Beside all of these, the economical stability was affected, for a longer period of time, by the loss of their lands, which constituted a source for additional revenues, especially for the poorer parishes. Some of the investments in building new churches were in vain. Two churches were demolished by unknown authors during 1941. The economic problems, that the two deaneries faced, have returned to the previous situation after the liberation of the Northern Transylvania.

Abstract

Although the revolutionary outbreak of the Spanish colonies in the Americas was sudden and apparently unplanned it was, in fact, a long process, during which colonial economies underwent growth, societies developed identities, ideas advanced to new positions and Spanish Americans began conscious of their own culture and jealous of their own resources. In Cuba the process of creating a national identity displays similarities with what happened in the former European colonies from the two Americas, turned into independent states but, on the other hand, shows different characteristics that make Cuba an exceptional case among the nations of the New World. A number of factors of different natures, as well as the vicinity of a state that from the second half of XIXth century is paving the way for a great power, helped to keep Cuba in Spanish hands until the end of the XIXth century long after the other colonies of the Spanish empire had fallen to local settler armies elsewhere. This short study aims to illustrate some aspects regarding the historical dynamics in the build up of a Cuban national identity.