Sunday, September 6, 2009

First Book on "Theatre and Humanism in a World of Violence" Published in Europe

SOFIA, BULGARIA: Randy Gener's Nathan Award-winning essay "See Under: HOMELAND," has been published in a new book, Theatre and Humanism in a World of Violence, an anthology of essays edited by Kalina Stefanova and Ian Herbert. Published in Sofia, Bulgaria, by St. Kliment Ohridski University Press, the book serves as a record of the proceedings of the 2008 World Congress of the International Theatre Critics Association and was financed by the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria.

Theare and Humanism in a World of Violence is the first attempt in a book-length form to answer such hot-button questions as: "What makes violence onstage today so sexy? Until recently, violence for its own sake was the prerogative of B-movies and junk mystery novels. What made theatre follow suit? What is the impact of the theatre of violence on the audience? Doesn't it actually make us conformists? Is there a place for humanism among all the postmodern "ism," including post-human and or meta-human theatre? What is the relationship between violence and the aesthetics of ugliness?"

Gener's scholarly essay address the role of theatre and humanism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on U.S. stages. This timely and relevant essay tackles how Israeli writers like David Grossman and Ian Hatsor have ceased to directly address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in their plays or fiction, after years of violence, military attacks, bombings and innumerable truces that have frayed Arab sympathy. Meanwhile secular Israelis and some Americans who have tackled the conflict in their writings have been villified. On the other hand, it has been very difficult to grant ordinary Palestinians their humanity on U.S. stages without someone insisting that the words "suicide bomber" and "Hamas" need also be uttered in the same breath.

In addition to the range of critical voices from around the world, Theatre and Humanism in a World of Violence contains the acceptance speech of the second winner of the IATC Thalia Prize, the French critic, director and playwright Jean-Pierre Sarrazac, who can be said to have first identified the notion of a post-dramatic theater. There is also a postscript: a text by Richard Schechner, the distinguihsed American director and theatre scholar, on the notion of the five avant-gardes.

Copes of the book were distributed this past April at the Europe Theatre Prize in Wroclaw, Poland, exactly year after the events it records. To purchase copies at the published price of 60 euroes, please contact Kalina Stefanova at this email link, and she may be able to arrange for her Ministry of Culture to send a copy.

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