AbstractThe article thematizes the uniquely complex relation between theory and theatre by focusing on the specific case of theory presented on stage. Part One exposes an aporia of classical aesthetics: the aesthetic object is conceived as different from thought but at the same time it is demanded that its nucleus is thought. Commenting on a particularly telling example of theory on stage: Karl Marx: Das Kapital, Erster Band von Rimini Protokoll (2006), it is argued that the power of the performance is able to uncover under the surface of a seemingly well-known and well-ordered theory a mostly overlooked element of madness. Part Two deals with the Aristotelian gesture of thinking tragedy as a para-logical reality. The ‘logification’ of the aesthetic overlooks (or ‘forgets’) that all theoretical positing loses necessarily its earnest when appearing on stage. The paper concludes with a reflection on the enduring ‘unconscious’ Aristotelianism of the discourse on theatre and tragedy. Drawing on the research of Ulf Schmidt, the irreconcilable contradictoriness of the concepts of nous and fantasia is exposed which leads time and again to the hatred for the unruly playfulness of theatre in the classic tradition. The nobilitation of tragedy by Aristotle as more ‘philosophical’ than historiography must be unmasked as a ‘Trojan horse’ which serves the subordination of the tragic play to the jurisdiction of the philosophical discourse. Resisting theory’s attempt to transform the theatrical play into a mere double of a conceptual contradiction, theatre must insist on its moment of opaqueness, sheer materiality, defiant unreasonability.
Anglia – de Gruyter
Published: Mar 8, 2018
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