Catalan Review

Perplexitat, Perspectiva: La Relativitat en la Identitat Europea

Catalan Review (2009), 23, (1), 243–248.

Abstract

Contemporary European plays coincide in a common formal endeavor: their construction of point of view as a notion that is relative, polyhedral, or contradictory. We have been raised in a culture of uncertainty and multiplicity, and it is this culture that gives the theater its contemporary appearance and sensibility. Therefore, it is necessary to dramatize reality according to new vantage points, questioning habits and customs, confronting the audience with new perceptions and possibilities. It is this interrogative quality, relative —non-affirmative—, that defines contemporary European drama. This article enumerates a series of theatrical techniques based on the premise that, in contemporary drama, the tendency to propose an "epic subject" facilitates access to the story on a second level (almost always at the level of plot). Therefore, the story —whether able to be reconstructed or not—is almost always filtered through a mediating consciousness, a point of view. In this way, dramatists formulate —formalize— doubts, questions, and contradictions and, at the same time, exorcise and purge themselves of them through artistic construction. These doubts are symptomatic of a state of perplexity and, at the same time, a pathetic intention —an intention inclined toward failure— that is therapeutic or purifying. The formal investigation of perspective in contemporary drama is thus an offshoot of a specific period: a dialectic adapted, translated, and condensed in form according to the historical material of our present.

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Author details

Batlle, Carles