Postdramatic Theatre and the Dissolution of the Unitary Self - Towards a Theory of the Postdramatic Character -
MetadataShow full item record
In my paper, I will focus on a particular concept from the postdramatic stage and discourse, namely the dissolution of the unity of character. Through various mechanisms, such as doubling, multiplication, and fragmentation of the characters that the actor embodies, the unity and cohesion of the stage character is overthrown. The lack of narratives, dramatic action and psychologically fashioned individuals has enforced the move towards a non-representational mode in which human figures appear on stage. In place of the old dramatic shaping devices, like dialogue, conflict, and plot, new elements, like intermediality, intertextuality, self-referentiality, theatricality, and visuality, prevail on the postdramatic stage. And instead of univocal representations of human individuals, they lead to ambiguous, multilevel and multivocal figures that lack a coherent identity. The scope of my thesis is to examine in a broad sense the nature, signification and implications of the death of the dramatic character. For this purpose, I will draw from both the postmodernist theories of the last decades, and the developments performed at the level of the dramatic character during the last century, and I will show that far from the real death of the character, the postdramatic stage has witnessed a complex reconfiguration of the nature of character. Furthermore, I will argue against Lehmann's contention that pure physicality and the intensification of the performer's presence have replaced the actual role playing of the actor. Although a frequently employed dramaturgical strategy nowadays, the presence of the actor in the fictional world of the stage doesn't cancel, but extends his role playing and the scope of his acting. And in the course of this, character becomes an intricate game of masks carried between the selves of the actor and the embodied figures. It is this hybrid creature, with multiple personalities and a dilated, multifunctional self that dramatic character has transfigured into.