Seminar: Angels of History: Performing Historical Figures on the Theatre Stage

SeminarAngels of History: Performing Historical Figures on the Theatre Stage.

Speaker: Professor Freddie Rokem


          What are the criteria for analyzing a theatre performance about a well-known historical event? Does it have to be ‘true’ to history as it ‘really happened’? Or is it the form of such a performance which enables us to claim that it shows something important about a personal or collective past? Or is it through the art of acting that an immediate sense of the past can be created? My presentation will point at the importance of all of the the three options in a theatre performance – its factuality, its structure and its artistic delivery – in order to convince the spectators, that we are looking at the past, through the window opened up for us in the theatre are opening up for us. I will in particular stress the importance of the last of these, presenting some options how theatre ‘performing history’ conceptualizes the art of acting. The actors are the ‘Angels of History’.

About Speaker: Freddie Rokem is Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Theatre at Tel Aviv University, where he was the Dean of the Faculty of the Arts (2002-2006) and held the Emanuel Herzikowitz Chair for 19th and 20th Century Art (2006-2016). He is currently the Wiegeland Visiting Professor of Theater & Performance Studies at the University of Chicago. His more recent books are Philosophers and Thespians: Thinking Performance (2010); Jews and the Making of Modern German Theatre (2010, co-edited with Jeanette Malkin); Strindberg's Secret Codes (2004) and the prize-winning book Performing History: Theatrical Representations of the Past in Contemporary Theatre (2000). He was the editor of Theatre Research International from 2006-2009, and a founding editor of the Palgrave/Macmillan book series ‘Performance Philosophy’. He has been a visiting professor at many universities in the United States, Germany, Finland and Sweden, and is also a practicing dramaturg.


Event Date: 
Wednesday, 3 January 2018 - 2:00pm
Seminar Hall, Department of HSS
IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai