Thursday, June 3, 2010

Critical Stages Publishes its Spring 2010 Issue

The second issue of Critical Stages, the webjournal of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC), came out this spring. 

Yun-Cheol Kim, publisher of Critical Stages and IATC president, said, "All of the editors, headed by Dr. Maria Helena Serodio, have worked extremely hard to make this 'crazy project' a sustainable reality. This journal will be our contribution to world theatre, and serve greatly to make theatre and theatre criticism matter in our society."

In her editorial, Serodio added that the second issue "brings with it the evidence that the IATC is able to pursue one of its main goals: to highlight the need (and the importance) of critics and criticism in the field of theatre. But this claim is not to be held as a vain conceit: it only means that we assume this as a challenge and a responsibility, so that we shall do our best not to disappoint artists, readers and theatre audiences alike."

Three American critics were prominent contributors to the second issue. San Francisco-based writer and acting teacher Lissa Tyler Renaud interviews theatre directors David Zinder and Stan Lai (Lai Sheng-Chuan) in the "Theatre Views" department.

A daring contribution comes from New York-based critic and author of the book Theatre Voices, Steve Capra who actually reviews the first edition of Critical Stages, published this past fall. In his article in the Book Reviews" department, Capra, a dedicated member of the International Committee of the American Theatre Critics Association, writes:

The interviews, the reviews, the discussions of our iconic influences―these all reflect an erudite and articulate critical community. Indeed, Robert Greig's review is close to a model of analysis. Naturally, the material paints a more sanguine portrait of world theatre than it deserves. As our publisher rightly notes, “The theatre is in a real crisis.” The unique contribution of the issue lies in its first and final sections: “Theatrical Commentary and Professing Theatre Criticism” (it’s unclear why the sections are separate). It’s here that Critical Stages addresses its mission most directly, and we find discussions of criticism per se, material that contextualizes our work. It somehow validates us.

In addition, on the eve of granting the third Thalia Prize to Richard Schechner in IATC's forthcoming Congress in Yerevan, Armenia, to be held in June, American Theatre senior editor Randy Gener subjects the French critic, playwright and essayist Jean-Pierre Sarrazac to a Proust Questionnaire. The speech Sarrazac read in Sofia is also published in French. Sarrazac received the second Thalia Prize in Sofia two years ago “for having influenced critical thinking about the art of theatre.”

In the accompanying photos, the article shows the emblem of the Thalia Prize, which was specially commissioned from the distinguished Romanian stage and artist-designer Dragos Buhagiar: a cane with a silver top, representing Thalia, the Greek muse of comedy. (Incidentally, an interview of Buhagiar appears in the same spring issue.)

Says Kim, "The second issue shows some improvements over the first one. Now we have some moving images, more visual designs, and the archive where you can refer to the past issues. I have no doubt that Critical Stages will soon become one of the best resources, one of the most informative and relevant theatre journals in the world, especially given that we have such a rich pool of fine writers in every corner of the globe. Your suggestions to make it better are always welcome. Please visit the IATC Webjournal and invite your students, colleagues, and your entire theatre community to visit and make use of it."

"Redefining Femininity" Symposium for IATC World Congress Announced

The International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) announced June 2 the preliminary program for its next World Congress, which takes place June 15-20 in Yerevan, Armenia.

The theme for this year's congress is "Redefining Femininity in Today’s Theatre." The call for papers, issued earlier this year, states:  "The concept of femininity seeks in today’s theatre its own place, language, identity and expression. In the 21st century, it has reemerged as a creative issue. In a sense, even the masculine subject is isolated in the phallocentric system. “Alliance,” for example, is emphasized over “self” as a recurring theme, “difference” over “homogeneity,” “sense and experience” over “abstraction,” as well as “nature” over “civilization.” Can we characterize and explain the various phenomena of this 21st century concept of femininity?

"Some of the main elements characterizing the changing theatrical models which have emerged or developed under the aegis or influence of this new paradigm seem to encompass new subject matter; changes in plot and character; new developments and thinking in terms of the relationships between body and language; shifts in the encounters between the performers and the spectators; a reordering of the symbolic and thematic structures; a recognition of “the other”; poetic attention and expression to individuality and everyday-ness; fresh perspectives on the roles of memory, politics, gender, class, race, and family."

Papers on that theme will be presented by a motley of speakers. The preliminary program schedule, divided into three sessions, is as follows:

SESSION I, June 16, Wednesday, 10:00-13:00:
Chair: Margareta Sörenson

Keynote Speech:
Maria Helena Serôdio, Portugal, Editor Critical Stages, Honorary General Secretary:
Reframing the Feminine: Some Classical Heroines on the Contemporary Stage
Un nouveau cadre de féminité : Quelques héroïnes classiques sur la scène contemporaine
Jean-Pierre Han, France, vice president IATC:
The Position of Femininity in French Theatre
La position de la féminité dans le théâtre français
Ravi Chaturvedi, India:
The Emergence of the New Woman: Reflections on Indian Theatre in the 21st Century
L’émergence de la femme nouvelle : Réflexions sur le théâtre indien du 21e siècle

Guna Zeltina, Latvia:
The Emergence of the Concept of Femininity in Latvian Theatre
L’émergence de l’idée de féminité dans le théâtre lituanien

Katy Salmasi, Iran:
Feminism, Art and Theatre in Iran
Féminisme, art et théâtre en Iran

Deepa Ganesh, India :
The Woman’s Voice in Indian Theatre
La voix de la femme dans le théâtre indien

SESSION II, Wednesday, 15:00-17:00:
Chair: Jean-Pierre Han
Birgitte Purkhardt, Québec, Canada:
The Evolution of the Female Character in the Imagination of Québec’s Playwrights
L’évolution du personnage féminin dans l’imaginaire des dramaturges québécoises

Patricia Keeney, Canada:
Where the Wild Things Are: A Study on Canadian Playwright Judith Thomson
Où tout est sauvage, étude sur la dramaturge canadienne Judith Thomson

Randy Gener, USA:
Women and War: On Lynn Nottage’s Ruined
Les femmes et les guerres : Sur Ruines de Lynn Nottage
Savas Patsalidis, Greece :
Recontextualizing Sacrifice, Revenge and Power: Ellen MacLaughlin’s Iphigenia and Other Daughters
La recontextualisation du sacrifice, de la revanche et du pouvoir: Iphigénie et autres filles de Ellen MacLaughlin

Akiko Tachiki, Japan:
Femininity/Masculinity: Beyond the Border
Féminité/Masculinité : au-delà des limites

SESSION III, Thursday 10:00-13:00:
Chair: Randy Gener

Ravinder Kaul, India:
Redefining Femininity in Indian Modern Theatre
La redéfinition de la féminité dans le théâtre indien contemporain

Margareta Sörenson, Sweden, vice president IATC:
Femininity and Body Language, Reflections on Pina Bausch and Mats Ek
Féminité et langage du corps ; réflexions sur Pina Bausch et Mats Ek

Jae-Min Shim, Korea:
Lee Breuer’s Dollhouse
La maison de poupée de Lee Breuer

Zhu Ning, China:
The Female Directors in the New Theatre Market
Les femmes metteurs en scène sur le nouveau marché du théâtre

Zane Radzobe, Latvia:
Redefining Feminine: National Romanticism in Three Performances by Alvis Hermanis
La redéfinition de la féminité : Le romantisme national dans trois spectacles de Alvis Hermanis

Magdalona Jakfalvi, Hungary:
The Women, The Regimes
Les femmes, les régimes

Philip Zitowitz, Japan:
On the Geisha Today
Sur la geïsha aujourd’hui

Discussion and closure of the conference
Discussion et clôture du colloque