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Theatre as an Intellectual Laboratory of Ideas

Prof. Elena Penskaya (Moscow)

The course is dedicated to the intellectual history of theatre. Its starting and, at the same time, its central point are the humanist legacies in the history of European theatre. The course analyzes immanent theatrical patterns, which reflect the key ideas of different epochs and determine the evolution of language and the means of expression from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Culture is a complete organism. It develops according to a single algorithm. Therefore, changes in certain stage forms depend not only on the development of drama but on a broad intellectual context. An important part of the course is the conversation about the historical and cultural circumstances in which theatrical rituals and performances were born. The architectural structure of the theatre buildings and the structure of the stage determine the nature of the interaction between the artists and the audience. The analysis of the texts will consider not only the stylistic properties of the play, the characters and the types of conflicts, but also how playwrights and producers took into account intellectual realities. The lectures include stories about theatrical customs and cultural and intellectual conventions of a particular epoch. The combination of these stories with the analysis of the formation and change of leading artistic styles and ideas is the fundamental principle of our work.

The seminar will be taught in the summer semester 2021 by Prof. Elena Penskaya (HSE Moscow). Further details will be announced here shortly.