Editorial Note


Savas Patsalidis*

Dear reader,

Happy New Year!

Almost two years have gone by since the beginning of the pandemic, two difficult and frustrating years for everyone, particularly for all those involved with the theatre. This colossal humanitarian crisis that has affected all societies, their economies and their arts at the core, instead of intimidating us, has strengthened our belief in what we are doing. We have never thought of giving up. We continue to prioritize what we think is the function of a theatre journal: to delight and to disturb, to delight by channeling useful information, to disturb by creating anomalous arguments that would force the reader to confront or reexamine received values in a world of increasing interconnectivity as well as increasing uncertainties, inequalities and repositionings.

We strongly believe that in a democratic and demographically varied world, theatre arts and criticism are not only necessary but also useful.  With the latest issue (#24), Critical Stages/Scènes critiques continues to provide writers and artists with a platform to engage in dynamic discussion of themes that emerge or re-emerge within the performing arts across national and disciplinary boundaries. Significantly, 34 women and 25 men from 26 countries entrusted us with 48 quality papers, important contributions to international theatre/performing arts scholarship.

The Special Topic of Issue 24, Aural/Oral Dramaturgies, is a telling example of what all these recent changes imply. With meticulous care and deep knowledge of the field, the two guest editors, Duška Radosavljević and Flora Pitrolo, put together a total of ten cutting-edge and inspiring works, by authors from a range of cultural and professional backgrounds, which provide a panoramic as well as balanced view of the paradigm shift towards speech-and-sound-driven dramaturgies, specifically verbatim theatre, amplified storytelling and gig theatre. In the words of the editors, “this is a polyphonic portrait of what it might mean to think about the oral/aural in relation to theatre and dramaturgy now. Some voices will be familiar, others will be alien; some will be familiar voices speaking in alien tones. We do feel, however, that listening into how the other listens always initiates another conversation, and that like another splendid bird in a forest, the reader too will want to join in this process of call and response.”

Today’s theatre needs, among other essentials, artists who are not only good talkers but also good listeners. Listening requires enthusiasm, commitment, energy and patience to capture the essence of what is going on and then transform the experience into meaningful art. Listening is a form of action, and this special topic testifies to that fact.

In addition to the articles included in the Special Topic section, the reader will find eight more academic articles published in the Essay Section (ed. Yana Meerzon) that further address the aims of the issue. The authors of these essays reflect on the patterns with which we are thinking about the world when (re)presenting it on the stage, offer strategies for creating scripts and performing Holocaust testimony using the Brechtian idea of Verfremdungseffekt and Gestus, discuss the devised performances of a leading Greek director, Michael Marmarinos,  and analyze  Tania Bruguera’s Tatlin’s Whisper #6 (2009), which creatively rewrites the widely distributed image of Fidel Castro’s victory speech in Havana (1959), among other significant contributions.

In the National Reports section (ed. Savas Patsalidis), whose main goal is to cover current theatre life in various countries around the world, the chosen essays offer views on the interactive role of audiences in South Korean performing arts, on the role of photography in recording theatre, and Hong Kong theatre in particular, a critical assessment of Philippine theatre based on ruptures in its status quo of silence over fundamental divides based on language and privilege, and a close look at Tadashi Suzuki’s long and creative relationship with Greek tragedy.

The Conference section  (ed. Ivan Medenica) is back, after a short period of absence, with engaging papers which discuss the problematics of recycling as an essential aesthetic quality of theatre and performing arts in general, all selected from the international conference Recycling in the Performing Arts: from Creativity to Commerce, organized by the Slovak Centre of the IATC/AICT in cooperation with the Theatre Institute Bratislava under the auspices of the International Association of Theatre Critics, IATC/AICT supported by the LITA Fund.

We all change. Our readers also change. Those who do not change arouse our interest and engage our sense of duty. Part of our job as critics is to demonstrate that criticism is still a serious endeavor; this is the general aim of the section Critics on Criticism (ed. Savas Patsalidis), which offers three enlightening essays.  The first of these discusses the multiple binaries and pluralities of theatre, another explores the performative quality of Emin’s autobiographical drawings and the last one presentsTerzopoulos’ most interesting critical views on tragedy.

Volume #24 also includes four interviews, nine performance reviews (ed. Matti Linnavuori) , four book reviews (ed. Don Rubin) and one special section, In Memoriam, that pays tribute to two great artists who have passed away in the last few months: Antony Sher (England), and Ion Caramitru (Romania).

To the editors of these sections I owe my deepest gratitude, as much as I owe my heartfelt thanks to the authors themselves who have entrusted us with their work.

I would also like to extend my thanks to the two co-editors of the journal, Don Rubin and Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, whose assistance has always been so generous. Last but not least, my thanks go to Ian Herbert and all external readers who, whenever asked, provide excellent comments on papers that benefit from their experienced reading.

That said, I would like to encourage those interested in having their articles, performance and/or book reviews, interviews, case studies and empirical research considered for publication to contact the editor of the respective section (visit: https://www.critical-stages.org/submission-guidelines/).

Once a manuscript has been peer reviewed and recommended for publication, it undergoes further language copyediting, typesetting and reference validation, following the latest guidelines of the MLA style sheet, in order to provide the highest publication quality possible.

Submissions should not be published earlier or be under consideration for publication elsewhere while being evaluated for this journal. They must also adhere to the style and ethics of the journal (for more on the journal’s Publication Ethics/Procedure please visit: https://www.critical-stages.org/submission-guidelines/)

If you have any other queries about the journal, or if I can be of help with anything, please do not hesitate to contact me (spats@enl.auth.gr).

NOTE: The Special Topic of our Summer issue (#25) is Human-Technology Interfacing in Performance. Guest editor: Sebastian Samur. Publication date: Late June 2022.

Please forward the link to anyone who may be interested. Thank you.

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 Studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Drama School of the National Theatre of Northern Greece. 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. He has just finished a book on comedy (Comedy’s Encomium) which will be published in 2022 by University Studio Press. In addition to his academic activities, he writes theatre reviews for various ejournals. 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.

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