Savas Patsalidis [1]

Savas_Patsalidis

First I would like to thank Yun-Cheol Kim, the ex-president of IATC, for inviting me to become the new editor-in-chief of Critical Stages, the ejournal that he launched in 2009. I am deeply grateful. With hardly any money but with enthusiasm and good faith Yun-Cheol and a team of able and hard working IATC associates of different nationalities, backgrounds, ages and expertise (Lissa Tyler Renaud, Maria Helena Serodio, Patrice Pavis, Maria Shevtsova, Don Rubin, Mark Brown, Michel Vais, to name just a few) have managed to turn this journal into a truly global open access platform. It suffices to say that the journal’s last issue (#10) had over one million hits, which is about ten times the number of visits of almost any other professional or scholarly theatre journal in the world.

Given the changes brought about by internet culture, it was not only a brave but also a timely initiative, for it offered a forum to theatre and performing arts critics to discuss the function and viability of criticism; to reflect more on their position within (global) culture and how their writing relates to the ordinary commerce of society; how their work is used and how they manage to survive in a world with little interest in the arts.

Reality and writing (and of course performance) are inextricable elements of the world in which we live. In the midst of a rapidly developing multicultural and electronic era, in a landscape where the foundation stones of the welfare system are gradually dismantled, along with many forms of social protection, and state funding of the arts has dried to a trickle, it is important that we, theatre critics and artists alike, also reconsider our critical and artistic tools and our social responsibilities. We must widen our understanding by reshuffling all past knowledge of drama, of the world and of course, our audiences. It is quite obvious that it is not enough to be appealing to familiar customers, familiar research fields and artistic projects. Reviewers, essayists, researchers, and artists must keep adapting, if they want to be part of what is going on. There is no return to the old days. The cross cuttings of our post-industrial era have displaced lots of old artistic, cultural and philosophical beliefs. We do not live in sections anymore but intersections, and this means that we have to develop a discourse which would accommodate changing social, cultural and economic conditions ranging from globalization to migration, identity politics, multiculturalism, hybrid cultures, transnational cultural traffic etc. Reality changes and, as Brecht says, “in order to represent it, modes of representation must change. Nothing comes of nothing; the new comes from the old, but that is why it is new.”

The ambition of Critical Stages is to grow, to reach an even larger and diverse audience by opening up to include other forms of artistic expression such as dance, puppetry, shadow theatre, circus, among others. Critical Stages wants to meet the challenges of the contemporary situation with creativity and courage and thus help create social and artistic horizons of hope. It is our belief that there is still room for a journal like this to interrogate meanings and paradoxes, by offering a critical appraisal of options for local and internationally engaged theatre and performance work. It is our belief that the function of an artistic journal, like the function of art itself, is to delight and to disturb. Delight through the channeling of useful information and disturb by forcing the reader to confront or re-examine received values in a world of increasing interconnectivity.

As the editorial team of Critical Stages what we feel we need most is a theatre and a critical discourse ready to dislodge themselves, and to reposition the gaze of the audience and of readers, in order to embrace the multiple. We want our readers from all around the world to feel that Critical Stages is their “local” webjournal with a global reach.

The present issue (#11) offers a number of insightful interviews edited by Hervé Guay from Quebec, a fascinating Special Topics section on new playwriting from around the world, edited by our Japanese colleague Manabu Noda, five inviting papers on theatre criticism presented at two different conferences in 2014, one organized by the Indian National Section of IATC in collaboration with the International Theatre Festival of Kerala and the other by the Chinese Association of Theatre Critics in collaboration with IATC, with the editorship of Deepa Punjani. Our colleague from Serbia Ivan Medenica put together two well argued papers on contemporary theatre. There is also a very useful essay on the art of criticism by the British performance critic and writer Diana Damian Martin, eight performance reviews from around the world selected and edited with great care and professionalism by Matti Linnavuori from Finland and five very helpful book reviews edited by our Canadian colleague and friend Don Rubin. Since one of the roles of Critical Stages is to help the general reader with useful information, we added to this issue, as special contribution, an International Theatre and Performance Festival Guide drafted by Katerina Delikonstantinidou (a PhD candidate at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece), with my assistance.

For the completion of this issue I owe special thanks to Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, executive editor of Critical Stages and Don Rubin, managing editor of Critical Stages. They were always available and ready to help and give advice. I would also like to thank the present president of IATC Margareta Sörenson, the members of the executive committee of the IATC and the board members of the journal, who have provided support and encouragement. I cannot thank enough all section editors who worked really hard to find and edit the best. My warm and special thanks also go to Lissa Tyler Renaud, Michel Vais and Mark Brown who have, with their suggestions, corrections and meticulous readings, helped immensely in maintaining the bilingual quality of the journal. And, last but not least, thanks to the new webteam of the journal, Tasos Paschalis and Katerina Delikonstantinidou, who worked long hours to upload, post and manage the articles and make all this come true and to those anonymous readers of the journal whose feedback has always been a useful advisor. I do hope that this issue will live up to their expectations as well as to the expectations of those who put their trust in me.


[1] Savas Patsalidis is professor of theatre history and theory in the School of English and the Graduate Program of the Theatre Department of Aristotle University (Thessaloniki). He also teaches at the Drama School of the National Theatre of Northern Greece. He is the author of eleven books on drama criticism/theory and co-editor of another thirteen .He is the theatre reviewer of the daily newspaper Aggelioforos and Parallaxi, an ejournal. His two-volume study Theatre, Society, Nation (Thessaloniki: University Studio Press), was awarded first prize by the Hellenic Association of Theatre Critics for best theatre study of the year (2010). For more detailed bibliographical information visit: savaspatsalidis.blogspot.gr

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