Amfiteater, Journal of Performing Arts Theory, Volume 10, Number 2

Termin: 20. 12. 2022

The second issue of the tenth volume of Amfiteater brings together themes we have been exploring over the last two years. The first theme deals with the changes in playwriting and theatre in the 21st century; the second addresses the question of community in the performing arts. Both themes were discussed at the Amfiteater symposia in 2020 and 2021, respectively, and the published discussions herein take a clearer and more refined form.

Tomaž Toporišič’s discussion “How Can We Interpret the 21st-Century (No Longer) Dramatic Texts and Theatre in Art and Theory?” introduces this issue of Amfiteater and the first theme. In his essay, the author gives a detailed analysis of various current dramatic texts from Slovenia and abroad. The common denominator of these texts is that they are rooted in the tradition of postdramatic theatre and the no longer dramatic theatre text, which they transcend by injecting drama into them. Thus, Toporišič discusses concepts such as post-postdramatic theatre (Élisabeth Angel-Perez), neodramatic theatre (Anne Monfort) and the dramatic text (Birgit Haas) and concludes that 1) postdramatic theatre is a continuation of, rather than a break with, tradition,2) contemporary dramaturgy often deconstructs the opposition between presentation and representation, and 3) that it does all of this in a distinctly dramatic way.

Almir Bašović further highlights postdramatic theatre as a continuity of tradition. First, he points to the long tradition of mannerist literature to which it belongs, going back to the comedies of Aristophanes. He then questions the innovativeness of some of the fundamental determinants of postdramatic plays, such as the fragmentary nature of dramatic form and the eventfulness of dramatic writing. He also finds these two determinants already in the history of drama and its theory from Aristotle and Plato onwards. Postdramatic theatre is therefore a phenomenon that seeks new directions and questions the very medium of theatre or the performing arts.

Next, Kim Komljanec’s empirical research on contemporary Slovenian drama further complements our discussion about 21st-century playwriting. She used a questionnaire to gain insight into the production possibilities of contemporary Slovenian drama as well as the possibilities of its staging and international promotion. Her analysis of the data shows that the success of Slovenian playwriting requires a more unified and strategic policy that supports writers through commissions and residencies, a specialised venue dedicated to staging new Slovenian plays and a single point of promotion in the international arena.

Finally, this theme is rounded out by the personal experiences of twenty-one authors, which established playwrights – Simona Semenič, Jera Ivanc, Simona Hamer and Kim Komljanec – have summarised in a so-called Informans script. Their experiences are mostly negative and show the neglect of the playwright and their work in the theatre.

The second theme of community is this time linked to the so-called small arts (Kleinkunst) and is opened by the Belgrade-based researcher Irena Ristić. Through an analysis of the Belgrade drag scene and interviews with artists, she explores how the ways of building a collective resonate in the productions and the alternative modes of sociability that the artists seek to enact. She shows that respect for and persistence in diversity are not only prerequisites for the functioning of theatre collectives but also the conditions for the successful social functioning of artistic projects.

Zala Dobovšek’s discussion reveals the current small arts scene in Slovenia. This scene includes marginalised artists, who from this position, can be even more ironic and socially critical. It is interesting to note that these are very different creators in terms of their social engagement and form of activity. Thus, she analyses the City of Women Festival, the work of Andrej Rozman Roza, Marko Brecelj and Matija Solce on the one hand, and collectives such as Cabaret Tiffany, Mismo Nismo and Hupa Brajdič on the other. In this way, her analysis shows the diversity and liveliness of these performance genres.

We conclude this issue with Tajda Lipicer’s review of the book Why Theatre? written by young German theatre scholar and critic Jakob Hayner. He asks why we should go to the theatre today and what kind of theatre we need in a highly mediatised world.

The journal is included in: MLA International Bibliography (Directory of periodicals), Scopus, DOAJ. The publishing of Amfiteater is supported by the Slovenian Research Agency and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.