Is a genuine theatre scandal still possible?

Is the theatrical scandal dead? / How directors’ interpretations can obscure and even counteract the real shocks and scandals of great drama

[Nota en el Times Literary Supplement por John Stokes (autor de “The French Actress and Her English Audience”)]

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Hedda Gabler hangs out in Hammersmith

Ref.: 1) Hedda Gabler
Riverside Studios (Studio 2)
Crisp Road, London W6 9RL
3-14 February: Tue-Sat 7:45 / Sun 6:00 / Sat Matinee 2:30
Directed By Terje Tveit
Cast includes: Doron Davidson, Sarah Head, Jenni Lea-Jones, Rosalind Stockwell, Matthew Williamson & Fanos Xenofós.
2) Theodore Ziolkowski
European theater as moral trial
Cambridge University Press


Tveit’s heavily choreographed Hedda is the kind of production that might confirm Theodore Ziolkowski’s worst fears, since Scandal on Stage is as much a polemic against directorial imposition as it is a history of theatrical outrage, the link between the two being Ziolkowski’s belief that when directors stamp their own personal vision on a work in order deliberately to cause a sensation they are effectively pre-empting, or even counteracting, its innate provocations, denying rather than amplifying the writer’s wishes.


Neither Synge nor Genet is discussed by Ziolkowski, nor does he mention the two great English examples of theatrical scandal in modern times: Edward Bond’s Saved and Sarah Kane’s Blasted, both serious plays about violence and poverty where the scandal should be seen as social in the first instance and theatrical only in the second.At least, that seems to have been their authors’ intention.


And it’s this feeling of manipulation that encourages Ziolkowski to go on to argue that today the directors are increasingly part of the process, sometimes with the excuse that they are keeping texts alive, but in actuality always submitting them to some external imperative.


Acerca de Carlos Sims
Otro actor que escribe.

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