Book: Why Theatre?
Edited by: Kaatje De Geest, C. Hornbostel, and M. Rau
Published by:NTGent, Verbrecher Verlag, Berlin, 2020
The book ‘Why Theatre?’ edited by Kaatje De Geest, C. Hornbostel, and M. Rau poses the question “why theatre?” in times when theatre and performance as live art are in a state of emergency and societies rethink necessities, to 100 of the most influential artists and intellectuals worldwide, spanning classical theatre to performance art, activism to political theatre, and the performativity of everyday life. Contributors from diverse continents and generations offer short essays, memories, manifestos, and letters, creating an instant encyclopaedia of theatre. Notable authors include Mohammad Al Attar, Lola Arias, Tania Bruguera, Kelly Copper, Hsin-Chen Huang, Ursina Lardi, James Leadbitter, Jelton Nexiraj, Ivo Van Hove, and many, many more. This volume is part of the ‘The Golden Books’ series published by NTGent.
To highlight a selection of contributors and their ideas from the book: Hector Aristizabal expresses his perspective on theatre as a spiritual journey; Vincent Baudriller articulates his belief that the profound and delicate experience shared between artists and spectators, as they breathe the same air within the confines of a performance’s shared time and space, is a potent fusion of physical and intellectual life. Chokri Ben Chikha, from Action Zoo Humain, advocates for theatre’s tangible impact on reality, emphasizing that it should go beyond the creation of mere plays that offer perspective. The Bread and Puppet theatre group, renowned for their use of puppets in political theatre, posits that questioning “why theatre?” is akin to asking “why water?” Tania Bruguera, the Cuban performance artist, contends that the essence of art lies in implementation rather than production.
The question “Why Theatre?” has elicited responses such as the following:
“Theatre creates futureness(p.53)”
“I do not want art to exist as luxury, when what it does should be a necessity(p.45).”
“It is a step into the void(p.57).”
“Sometimes, between collecting the dead, letting wounds heal and surviving, we take to the streets and sing our rage(p.64)”