Wednesday, February 6, 2019
The Metaphysics of Performance :: Theatre Science Papers
The Metaphysics of PerformanceSomething extraordinary has happened to metaphysics. At the very(prenominal) moment when philosophy is focusing its efforts at bringing metaphysics to an end, metaphysics finds itself flourishing in the plain, which speaks of itself as metaphysics-in-action and publishes treatises carrying such titles as The Act of Being Toward a surmise of Acting. The irony of the situation appears to have been lost on postmodern philosophers. What this radical sets out to do is explore the potential consequences of the metaphysical weight that has been acquired by the theatre for the practice of philosophy. It argues that the theatrical slaying is in fact an formula of the performance of being and that, as such, it is possible to extend our understanding of this performance from the theatrical stage to the theatre of the domain. Finally, in doing so, we can establish the condition for a metaphysics that does not privilege presence.The world of the stage, of rol es, masks, parts to play has been one and only(a) of the most enduring ways of speaking about life and the world we live in. In fact, until four hundred years ago, the theatrum mundi metaphor was the supreme pictorial matter in Western thinking. god was conceived on the analogy of a playwright who had created the script of the play that was being performed on the stage called the world. all(a) the worlds a stage, / And all the men and women merely players ... No sooner had Shakespeare penned these lines than the theatre metaphor was emptied of its metaphysical charge. In very short order, it found itself carrying out under the aegis of a new and more powerful image of the world the book of the world. It was Galileo and Descartes who gave this metaphor its currency, which was to have far reaching consequences for the storey of metaphysical thinking in the West. To engage the world as a stage is to find oneself articulating what is at bottom an inherently unstable moot of the w orld. As anyone who is familiar with the theatre knows, if it takes a performance to bring a world to presence, then the intelligibility or meaning of what transpires cannot be guaranteed in advance. And, if God is conceived of in terms of being a playwright, then he faces the quandary that every playwright finds himself in. He is constrained to address the continuing asymmetry that attaches itself to his creation by virtue of the fact that a performance intervenes in the midst of himself and what transpires onstage.