I am very happy to announce the publication of the 21st issue of Critical Stages/Scènes critiques which, in terms of quantity, is thus far the richest of all, with 70 contributions by 40 women and 38 men from 34 countries (including New Zealand, Mexico, Martinique, Latvia, South Africa, Mongolia, among many others). All of the texts are original works which strengthen our journal’s stated objective of providing writers and artists with a platform to engage in dynamic discussion of themes that emerge or re-emerge within the performing arts. These papers reflect our journal’s desire to offer a broader practical, aesthetic, ideological and theoretical outlet to those who wish to address recent developments in the theatre across national and disciplinary boundaries.
This issue carries three special topics. The first, The Theatricality of Music, the Musicality of Theatre, edited by Octavian Saiu, examines, as the title suggests, the relationship between theatre and music in the twenty-first century. How is this relationship affected by new technology and new media? To what extent is it influenced by the current social, economic and/or political developments in the world? How are the dynamics between music and theatre manifested in the East and the West? These questions, among many others, are investigated thoroughly by the 12 contributors to this topic.
The second special topic, Mediating Performance Experiences, edited by Yana Meerzon, is directly related to the first because it also discusses how technological innovations and digitalization of communication affect theatre. As the editor of the Essay Section states, “because theatre has been using different means of technology, including live video streams, projections, interactive surtitles, augmented reality and immersive digital content, it was able to . . . adapt to its new performance spaces, including different internet platforms and interfaces, and it continued speaking to its audiences across geographical barriers and across the globe.” A total of 10 articles reflect on these changes, generating an “interdisciplinary dialogue on the political, social and emotional impact digital and internet technologies have in making theatre arts.”
While preparing issue #21, we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of an unprecedented crisis; namely, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the global impact of the situation, Critical Stages invited members of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) to share with us their brief, very early thoughts, and to give us a taste of the impact of the pandemic upon their respective theatre communities. Thus, a third special topic was born with 23 contributions from 22 different countries, on four continents. These contributions reflect, more or less, similar apprehensions and similar concerns regarding theatre’s future. We introduce these papers with an article by Maria Ristani which offers a most enlightening insight into the ages old, uneasy duet between theatre and epidemic disease.
As for the other articles in this enlarged edition of CS/Sc. There are many different things to read and reflect upon. The National Reports Section carries three very interesting reports on the theatre life in countries whose theatre many of us do not know well: namely, Montenegro, Mongolia and Morocco.
In the Interview Section, there are three lively interviews from Spain, Serbia and Georgia. The Critics on Criticism Section carries a brief essay by Don Rubin on the controversy that broke out in Canada around the decision of First Nations artist Yolanda Bonnel not to invite to her show ΒUG the usual range of critics but, rather, to welcome only writers and reviewers who come from communities that she believed would understand her work on the ceremonial level. In addition, we have five book reviews (selected and meticulously edited by Don Rubin) and 13 performance reviews (carefully selected and professionally edited by Matti Linnavuori).
For all this and much more I would like to extend special thanks to Don Rubin (managing editor) and Jeffrey Eric Jenkins (executive editor) for their generous support; to the journal’s team, the language and section editors, the authors who help maintain the quality of the journal by entrusting us with their fresh and cutting-edge articles and, last but not least, to our thousands of readers who visit our site and help spread its contents and influence.
CS/Sc aims to be a dynamic, forward looking journal. Needless to say, therefore, we are already preparing our next issue which will carry three special topics: one on Re-orienting Arab Theatre and Performance: New Political Aesthetics, another on Theatre Criticism for Young Audiences: New Directions and a third one on Theatre Criticism in the Age of Self-Isolation and Social Distancing. Three topics seemingly different, but which share one unifying concept: the idea of change and newness. I wish you an exciting and very busy six months until the publication of #22 of our journal, in December 2020.
Our doors are open to all. Please join us as we continue producing new ideas for the ever-evolving theatre arts around the world.
*Savas Patsalidis, is Professor of theatre and performance history and theory in the School of English (Aristotle University, Thessaloniki), the Hellenic Open University and the Drama School of the National Theatre of Northern Greece. He is also a regular lecturer on the Graduate Programme of the Theatre Department at Aristotle University. He is the author of fourteen books on theatre and performance criticism/theory and co-editor of another thirteen. His two-volume study, Theatre, Society, Nation (2010), was awarded first prize for best theatre study of the year. His latest book-length study Theatre & Theory II: About Topoi, Utopias and Heterotopias was published in 2019 by University Studio Press. In addition to his academic activities, he works as a theatre reviewer for the ejournals lavart, parallaxi, and thegreekplay project. He is currently the president of the Hellenic Association of Theatre and Performing Arts Critics, member of the curators’ team of Forest Festival (organized by the National Theatre of Northern Greece) and the editor-in-chief of Critical Stages/Scènes critiques, the journal of the International Association of Theatre Critics.