The political responsibility of the performance maker in contemporary political comedy: Krakow on the Book Shelf and taboo

Evdoxia Stamatiou

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


What would be the recipe for the ideal political comedy? Tracing back in history, I would say that the ideal recipe has been Aristophanes’ comedy as “He advised the Athenians to live in concord with one another and restore the rights of the
disfranchised”. The ingredients were plot, contemporary politics, a chorus consisted of slaves and foreigners and an audience deriving from all Athenian social classes. The practical implementation of the ingredients resulted to comic catharsis and the journey from ekhtroi (enemies) to philoi (friends). The present paper is exploring how the performance maker in contemporary postmodern performance may lead an audience to comic catharsis in political performance. The methodology has been practice based, using specific practices that have resonances with Aristophanes’ comedy as Bertolt Brecht, Augusto Boal,
Joan Littlewood, Rimini Protocol, Anne Bogart and Tina Landau. I collaborated with Zero Hour Theatre Company on the site specific, promenade performance Krakow on the Book Self, which was performed in Massolit bookshop, Krakow, Poland, in December 2013. The performance was exploring Krakow’s identity as perceived by the English theatre company and as informed by history and global economy through the Holocaust and polish economic immigration. You can see a video of the performance at the link below. Before the final performance, the performance was censored, as some parts of it were considered disturbing. The theatre company reflected on it regarding how comic catharsis was affected and what is the political responsibility of the performance maker in such cases. What is offensive? Isn’t Aristophanes’ comedy still offensive in specific cases? Isn’t that a basic ingredient so as to achieve the “ekthroi” (enemies) and then result to the “philoi” (friends)?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2014
Event2014 IFTR Conference “Theatre and Stratification” - , United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Jul 2014 → …


Conference2014 IFTR Conference “Theatre and Stratification”
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period17/07/14 → …


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