Beitchman–May 16 NYPL Lecture: « Theatre of Naturalism: Disappearing Act »

Stephen A.  Schwarzman Building

Fifth Avenue at  42  nd Street
New York, NY  10018-2788
The Wertheim  Study presents on
Thursday, May  16, 2013
1:15 pm in the  South Court Auditorium
Philip  Beitchman
The Theatre of Naturalism  : Disappearing Act
The impact of naturalism, a  literary approach invented by Zola and especially significant in the field of  the novel through his American “disciples” Crane, Norris, and Dreiser, is well  acknowledged and recognized.
Not so well  recognized, but equally important, is naturalistic theatre: this was a style  that also originated with Zola, but its progeny was more international and its  significance more radical and insurrectionary than in the less “spectacular” genre of fiction.
The Theatre of Naturalism : Disappearing Act establishes the incipiently  revolutionary context (between the Paris Communist Commune, crushed in 1871, and  the successful Bolshevik insurrection of October 1917) – more or less  foregrounded or in the background of works by Zola, Strindberg, Ibsen,  Hauptmann, Synge, Shaw, and Tolstoy, focused especially on issues of class  struggle and class war, as well as the prospects and possibilities of  challenging the hegemony of the ruling orders. Especially in regard to later  theatre, for instance the “hyper-naturalism” of The Brig (Living Theatre) of Kenneth Brown, and of plays  by Arnold Wesker and David Storey—Philip Beitchman frequently invokes themes  culled from recent French theory, particularly Derrida’s deconstruction and  Baudrillard’s ideas about simulation. The The  Theatre of Naturalism will  open up new perspectives for anyone interested in theory or theatre, whether scholars or the  wider theatre-loving performing public.
Philip Beitchman,  a writer in residence in the Library’s Wertheim Study, received his PhD in  comparative literature from The City University of New York and teaches world  literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY. He is the author of I Am a Process with No Subject  (1988); Alchemy of the Word: Cabala of the Renaissance (1998); and The View from Nowhere : Essays in Literature, Mysticism  and Philosophy (2001).  His many translations from the  French include works by Jean Baudrillard (Simulations, Fatal Strategies)  and Paul Virilio (Aesthetics of  Disappearance).

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