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A phantom in contemporary European choreography: What is Beckett doing to us dance-makers? Can we do something to him in return? or, a series of realizations, three instances and an afterthought

Protopapa, E (2007) A phantom in contemporary European choreography: What is Beckett doing to us dance-makers? Can we do something to him in return? or, a series of realizations, three instances and an afterthought Performance Research, 12 (1). pp. 20-34.

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Abstract

After realising Beckett’s unquestionable presence in her choreographic work, F embarks on a journey whose aim is to identify the ways in which Beckett appears lately in contemporary choreography. The article focuses on choreographers Vera Mantero, Maguy Marin and Jérôme Bel and discusses their works and thinking in relation to several points on the work of Beckett raised by Alain Badiou, Gilles Deleuze, Steven Connor and Jonathan Rée. In particular, F explores Mantero’s suggestion that with Beckett ‘thinking replaces talking’ alongside the choreographer’s question ‘what am I saying when I’m dancing?’ and her use of language and automatic writing when creating choreographic work. Furthermore, Marin’s reflections on her recent work Umwelt lead to a consideration of her views on the notion of exhaustion in Beckett, both as physical exhaustion of the human body and as in the exhaustion of possibilities via combinatorial mathematics. F then picks on Bel’s attempt to re-define theatre via the scene of Krapp listening to his tapes or eating his banana, in order to shed light on how such view of theatre allows Bel to arrive at a maximum of theatre via a minimum of action. Finally, F draws on her encounter and discussion with choreographer Xavier Le Roy, to highlight a sense of Beckett’s pervasive ‘everywhereness’ in contemporary choreography; such presence on the one hand appears as a preoccupation with structure and method, and with the notion of a philosophy of theatre, but on the other hand seems to resist any attempt to pin down what exactly it is and how it is really manifested. What emerges is a sense of the ‘very much Beckett’ and the ‘not at all Beckett’ appearing at the same time, so that Beckett’s presence is finally defined as that of a phantom who hasn’t appeared yet, but at the same time cannot cease appearing; F’s attempt proves justified, but is also in a way always bound to fail.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Protopapa, EUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : March 2007
Identification Number : 10.1080/13528160701398008
Uncontrolled Keywords : Samuel Beckett, Contemporary European Choreography, Vera Mantero, Maguy Marin, Jérôme Bel, Xavier Le Roy, exhaustion, combinatorial mathematics, philosophy of theatre
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 01 Mar 2017 14:22
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:47
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/730004

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