Critical Stages, the web journal from the International Assoication of Theatre Critics / Association internationale des critiques de théâtre (IATC-AICT), is now online for your perusal. New editor-in-chief Yun-Cheol Kim sent along the following announcement letter, which has been edited for length:
The fourth issue of Critical Stages is finally posted. We am very proud that each issue of the journal has been visited by more than 50,000 readers. Please visit the IATC web journal at http://www.criticalstages.org/, and invite your colleagues, students, and your entire theatre community to visit and make use of it.
Starting with this issue, three major changes have been implemented. New editions of Critical Stages will be posted every June and December. This scheduling adjustment allows writers to address more theatre-oriented events, and provides more time for pieces to be written. A second change, and a rather painful one, was imposed upon us: Maria Helena Serôdio stepped down from her position as editor-in-chief, after having orchestrated the first three issues. Her expertise, competence, and sacrifices have been crucial to the birth of this journal. Critical Stages might well not have been possible without her leadership. As a result of Serôdio’s return to the editorial board, I have taken on the editorship myself; however, I think of myself only as an interim editor-in-chief, serving until we find a replacement.
In my role as the new editor, I have brought about a third set of changes. I have created a section called Special Topics that will accommodate articles or statements on current issues surrounding aesthetic or thematic approaches to the theatre; regional or global theatre arts policies; or other interesting phenomena of social significance to the contemporary theatre. I have also designated Section Editors, who will take the initiative to keep their respective sections dynamic. These changes have worked well, and that can be seen in this issue.
The special topic for this issue is “Censorship in Disguise.” Recently, there have been reports of unfortunate and anachronistic occurrences of political intervention into cultural policies, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. As President of IATC, I publicized my letters of protest on the cases of Hungary, Belarus, and Serbia, to protect the rights of our colleagues and their freedom of speech in theatre criticism; two of these letters are posted on the IATC website: www.aict-iatc.org. In this time of “Jasmine Revolutions,” censorship of any kind is pure nonsense. Andrea Tompa and Ivan Medenica let us know, through their reviews of Hungarian and Serbian performances respectively, how theatre artists have responded to these actions. Randy Gener has been keeping a keen watch on the agonies of the Belarus Free Theatre and gives us vivid reportage on the censorship and persecution of this courageous political theatre group.
Bringing further breadth to this topic elsewhere in the issue, Jean-Pierre Han’s review of the Iranian theatre and Alvina Ruprecht’s essay on the Cuban theatre are also written with reference to the notion of “censorship in disguise.” Taken all together, we have such a rich cluster of articles on the first special topic, both within and without the section itself, that they serve as a mandate for us to fight together against this evil practice, with vehemence and commitment.
The sections devoted to Interviews, Essays, Conference Papers, Performance Reviews, Book Reviews, and Critics on Criticism feature a broad and diverse collection of global perspectives on theatre and theatre criticism.
We are proud to present this fourth issue of the journal, which contains so much interesting work. Unfortunately, we live in a time when theatre criticism is being radically and rapidly reduced in stature. Let’s set aside, though, any pessimism, or even defeatism. Instead, we should raise our voices and speak up for the sake of theatre criticism and theatre art. Critical Stages proves, for the fourth time, that it serves this crucial cause very well.
Editor in Chief, Critical Stages/Scènes critiques