The Logic of/in Tragedy (Seminar)

Drama/Theatre/Performance and Philosophy: The Logic of/in Tragedy

Mittwoch, 14-16 Uhr, Raum 1.411, IG Farben-Haus, Campus Westend

This seminar will examine the relationships between the discursive practices of Drama/Theatre/Performance and Philosophy, in particular with regard to how logical arguments have been embedded within the narrative structures and the dramatic situations in tragedy. The seminar will focus on Sophocles’ three Theban plays: Antigone, Oedipus Tyrannus and Oedipus at Colonus and a selection of plays by Ibsen and Strindberg. The seminar will begin by raising general issues with regard to the interactions between the discursive practices of Performance and Philosophy.

Following this introduction the seminar will explore how tragedies can be characterized in terms of how they contextualize complex logical arguments, where at crucial turning-points the laws of logic are challenged. The dialectical tensions between logic and human nature – and what it means to be human – are a crucial component of Sophoclean tragedy, and these tensions are frequently formulated as riddles and as oracular or prophetic statements. The Chorus also has a crucial role for unfolding and challenging the laws of logic and their contextualizations. The complex relations between Aristotle’s Poetics and his theory of logic will also be carefully studied.

In addition to the analysis of the three Classical plays, modern and contemporary interpretations and adaptations of these plays will be presented and discussed from a dramaturgical perspective, examining in particular Brecht’s adaptation of the Hölderlin translation of Antigone which he directed in Switzerland and Berlin after the Second World War, and after which Antigonemodell 1948 was published, documenting this production. This was the first Modellbuch on the basis of which Brecht and his collaborators developed a new concept for documenting performances. Brecht’s Lehrstücke, which were written as he and Walter Benjamin had become close friends will also be examined in this broader context.

Israeli Cultures of Performance (Seminar)

Israeli Cultures of Performance: Visions and Revisions

Dienstag, 12-14 Uhr, Raum 1.411, IG Farben-Haus, Campus Westend

This course will examine the ways in which Israeli theatre and performance have been evolving around a more or less fixed cluster of nationally-formative themes, texts and events:  the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament); Jewish history, and in particular the Holocaust; and the everyday expressions of Israel’s geopolitical situation and everyday realities, in particular in relation to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Artists, scholars, and intellectuals have been negotiating and re-negotiating these clusters of narrative formations from various perspectives, carefully and self-consciously examining and coordinating the actions and expressions constituting the Israeli national culture, the language(s) developed to describe these actions through day-to-day reporting and the more distanced modes of writing of the history of these themes. All of these clusters and modes of expression can be found in the artistic and performative expressions produced by the Israeli national culture that will be examined in this course.

The Israeli Cultures of Performance, including established as well as avant-garde-theatres, different forms of performance art, including also dance and movement theatre, are based on a language with ancient roots which is still (or rather, again) a living language, which at the same time has no theatrical/performance tradition before the beginning of the 20th century. The Israeli Cultures of Performance (including the period before 1948, when the State of Israel was established) have held a central role in the self-fashioning of an Israeli identity where the very notion of ‘performance’ has been crucial for the understanding of recent Jewish history as well as what it means (and could mean) to establish a state where Jews constitute the majority of the citizens. The course will examine the ways in which these three thematic clusters – the Bible, Jewish history (in particular the Holocaust) and the present-day ‘realities’ – have been expressed in a broad range of texts and performances. At the same time I also want to highlight the representations of the multi-cultural aspects of Israeli society and culture, drawing attention to the representational strategies of inclusion and exclusion in the Israeli society (parliamentary, legal economic) as well as to its cultural (in particular, theatre and performance, but also in some films).

Freddie Rokem (Wintersemester 2014/15)

The Logic of/in Tragedy (Seminar)Israeli Cultures of Performance (Seminar)

Als ersten Gast im Rahmen dieser neuen Professur begrüßen wir im Wintersemester einen Kollegen vom Institut für Theaterwissenschaft unserer Partner-Universität in Tel Aviv, Professor Dr. Freddie Rokem. Er ist dort Emanuel Herzikowitz Professor für die Kunst des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts. Gastprofessuren führten ihn u.a. nach Stanford, Berkeley, Stockholm, Berlin und Helsinki.  Zuletzt erschienen von ihm u.a.: Philosophers and Thespians: Thinking Performance (2010); Jews and the Making of Modern German Theatre (Mit-Hg., 2010), Geschichte aufführen. Darstellungen von Vergangenheit im Gegenwartstheater (2012).

Professor Rokem wird im Rahmen seines Aufenthalts in Frankfurt drei Seminare unterrichten, die neben den Studierenden der TFM auch Studierenden der AVL sowie der Hessischen Theaterakademie offen stehen, außerdem am 4. November (Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, 18 Uhr) seine Antrittsvorlesung unter dem folgenden Titel halten: Possessed by Theatre: The Dybbuk at the Habima Theatre, Moscow 1922.

Im Rahmen der Gastprofessur von Freddie Rokem wird darüber hinaus die Ruth Kanner Group aus Tel Aviv in Frankfurt mit ihrer Franz Kafka gewidmeten Arbeit „The Hebrew Notebook“ gastieren. Diese wird am 11. und 12. Dezember im Künstlerhaus Mousonturm gezeigt werden. (Jeweils um 19.30 Uhr) Am 12. Dezember werden wir gemeinsam mit den israelischen Gästen eine Masterclass zum Thema „Kafka und das Theater“ abhalten, an die sich dann am 13. und 14. Dezember ein Workshop von Ruth Kanner mit Studierenden der TFM anschließen wird.