Over the last forty years, French director Ariane Mnouchkine and her theater collective, Le Théâtre du Soleil, have devised a form of research and creation that is both engaged with contemporary history and committed to reinvigorating theater by focusing on the actor. Now revised and reissued, this volume combines:
● an overview of Mnouchkine’s life, work and theatrical influences
● an exploration of her key ideas on theater and the creative process
● analysis of key productions, including her early and groundbreaking environmental political piece, 1789, and the later Asian-inspired play penned by Hélène Cixous, Drums on the Dam.
● practical exercises, including tips on mask work.
As a first step toward critical understanding, and as an initial exploration before going on to further, primary research, Routledge Performance Practitioners offer unbeatable value for today’s student.
Table of Contents
1. INTELLECTUAL AND ARTISTIC BIOGRAPHY: NOMAD OF THE IMAGINATION Beginnings Mnouchkine and her times Theatrical influences and affinities 2.IDEAS ON THEATER: THEATER AS COLLECTIVE HISTORY AND THE QUEST FOR FORM Theoretical propositions The creative process Paradoxes and tensions 3. FOUR KEY PRODUCTIONS: MNOUCHKINE’S "FANATICALLY THEATRICAL" 1789: collective creation, audience involvement, and comedic form Richard II: mythic storytelling, hybridizing Asia, and geometrizing power L’Indiade ou l’inde de leurs rêves: the Cixousian partnership, aesthetics of the hyper-real, and border crossers Drums on the Dam: In the Form of an Ancient Puppet Play, Performed by Actors: theatrical self-questioning and the actor as puppet Conclusion 4. PRACTICAL EXERCISES Principles of theatrical creation Mask work A basic rehearsal vocabulary
Judith G. Miller is Professor of French and Francophone Theatre in the Department of French Literature, Thought and Culture at New York University, New York, and Affiliate Professor at New York University Abu Dhabi.