Saturday, November 22, 2014

CALL: Jan Kott Our Contemporary

Our Contemporary: Jan Kott

IN CELEBRATION of the centenary of Jan Kott's birth, an international conference is scheduled for February 19, 2015 at the Rose Theatre, Kingston-Upon-Thames, London. "Jan Kott Our Contemporary: Contexts, Legacies, New Perspectives" borrows its title from Kott's influential work on the bard, Shakespeare Our Contemporary.

Conference organizers welcome inquiries from prospective speakers who will deliver twenty-minute papers on the role of Kott in Shakespeare and theatre studies, as well as his contribution to the intellectual life of the twentieth century. The conference is aimed at scholars, students, practitioners, reviewers, and the members of the general public for this free event. There will also be evening performances of Songs of Lear, which will be performed at the Battersea Arts Center, London. The acclaimed production was created by Song of the Goat Theatre, a Polish company.

Sweet Smell: Rose Theatre, Kingston-Upon-Thames

The organizing committee, which includes International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC-AICT) honorary president John Elsom, suggest a wide range of topics for discussion to include:
1. Jan Kott as academic critic. How has Shakespeare Our Contemporary shaped the development of Shakespeare criticism and theatre studies?  
2. Kott and the art of the essay. What made Kott’s essays influential; and do we still need them?
3. Kott and ancient Greek drama. How has the critic influenced classical studies? 
4. Kott and Existentialism. What was the importance of Kott’s work as a translator of Sartre?
5. Kott and the theatre of the absurd: the critic’s response to Beckett, Ionesco, and Gombrowicz.
6. Kott and global theatre. What was the importance of the critic’s interest in Kabuki and Noh?
7. Kott’s and the anthropology of theatre. What was the extent of Kott’s interaction with Jerzy Grotowski, Tadeusz Kantor, and Peter Brook?
8. Kott and Modernism. Can the critic be read as a Modernist writer?
9. Kott and religion. What were the critic’s views on Catholic doctrine on morality and sexuality, particularly in light of his writings on androgyny in Renaissance art and literature?
10. Kott’s politics. What were the critic’s reactions to Marxist and post-Marxist political theory, and to their impact on Polish theatre, international theatre, and theatre theory?
11. Kott and Jewish ethnicity. What is the significance of the Shoah on Polish and world theatre?
12. Kott, Polish emigration, and émigré culture. How do exiled artists and intellectuals like the critic shape the societies in which they work?
Abstracts of approximately 200 words accompanied by a 50-word bio should should be sent by December 5, 2014 to Aneta Mancewicz and Richard Wilson: Postal address: Aneta Mancewicz and Richard Wilson, Kingston University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Penrhyn Road, Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey KT1 2EE. Speakers will be notified of acceptance by December 8, 2014.

Tickets for Songs of Lear at the Battersea Arts Center, February 20 and 21, 2015, will be available at a special rate. Organizing committee: John Elsom (Kingston Shakespeare Seminar), Anna Godlewska (Polish Cultural Institute), Anna Gruszka (Polish Cultural Institute), Aneta Mancewicz (Kingston University), Aleksandra Sakowska (British Friends of the Gdansk Theatre Trust), Richard Wilson (Kingston University).

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