Wittgenstein and performance theory
It is amazing how Wittgenstein ideas (especially the ones in his last books) have not known more theoretical developments (at least as vast as Deleuzian theories) in the domain of the performing arts. We propose to follow several of his paths that can help illuminate contemporary stage’s life.
- the early simile of the “tableau vivant”, which is the application of a Baroque performative technique;
- his explicit comparison of contemplation in life and in theatre;
- the dramatic roots of his concept of language games or language plays (Sprachspiele);
- later, his innovative way of conceiving the relationships between the exterior and the interior (and the very idea of the interior);
- his theory of the primacy of expression or exteriorization (Ausserung), which is structural in the field of anything happening on stage;
- his critique of a private language;
- the primacy of action as the basis of our language games and behaviour (even “words are deeds”);
- the importance he gives to training, or dressage (Abrichtung), so familiar to theatre and dance;
- the unsurpassable asymmetries between the 1st person perspective and that of the 3rd person, so familiar to any playwright, director or actor;
- reinforced by his late theory of dissimulation.
At the end, projecting excerpts from one or more plays or choreographies, we will briefly try to confirm how these theories can be fertile in the analysis of contemporary performance.
Paulo Filipe Monteiro is full Professor at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. He was dean of the Department of Communication Sciences in 1999-2000 and 2006-2007; he is now chair of the M.A. degree on Performing Arts, and also of the Master’s Program in Communication Sciences and of the area Communication and Arts of the PhD Program. He published numerous articles and six books – on art theory and recently on Drama and Communication (this book was awarded the Joaquim de Carvalho Prize by the University of Coimbra for best 2010 book) and on Images of the Image. In theatre, he has worked extensively as playwright, actor (13 plays) and director (16 shows). In cinema and television, as scriptwriter (7 feature films, selected to Cannes, Locarno, Venice, São Paulo, plus 1 tv series) and actor (49 films and series). In 2008, he directed his first short film. Between 2002 and 2006, he was President of the Portuguese Association of Scriptwriters and Playwrights. He was a founder of the Federation of Scriptwriters in Europe, to which board he belonged in 2005. In January 2013, he organized in Lisbon the conference Drama and Philosophy, having as keynotespeakers Martin Puchner, Freddie Rokem, José Gil and Maria Filomena Molder. He is a member of the networks Performance Philosophy and Contemporary Performance.