HomeEnemy of the People, Thomas Ostermeier

Enemy of the People, Thomas Ostermeier

Un ennemi du peuple, Thomas Ostermeier

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Published on Tuesday, February 09, 2016 by João Fernandes

Summary

Thomas Ostermeier’s world success is patent. An Enemy of the People deals with political, social and ecological issues which lead to a public debate between stage and audience through fiction: a water contamination implies the responsibility of the authorities, who have to chose between an economic or a sanitarian resolution. Water here appears as an allegorical pretext, and even more, to question the notion of “democracy”. We would like a review of the audience’s reaction, and of the debate, especially the themes people dealt with, their involvement and how they took part during the show. Each show uses the whole fictitious machine that is particular to the play and at the same time deals with the “reality” of each place, people. Our aim is to produce a collection of articles for a publication in 2016. Please take note that the first edition of the collection will be in French, so all papers written in English will be translated.

Announcement

Université de Montréal, Département des littératures de langue française 

Argument

Thomas Ostermeier’s world success is patent. An Enemy of the People deals with political, social and ecological issues which lead to a public debate between stage and audience through fiction: a water contamination implies the responsibility of the authorities, who have to chose between an economic or a sanitarian resolution. Water here appears as an allegorical pretext, and even more, to question the notion of “democracy”.  

In the middle of the show characters start a debate. First, it is fictitious, and happens on stage between protagonists. The actors ask for the audience’s opinions and the fictitious debate overflows in the whole theatre and is forgotten for a moment in order to let people have an argument. It can be long and vehement depending on the country, the audience, and the actuality. We think that this debate is not a common performance, it offers its whole political sense to theatre. Each town is a good witness of this political issue.  

When it started in Avignon, people were not only the judges of protagonists : this fictitious case reminded them some recent ecological disasters, like Fukushima. In Montreal, the opening night occurred during an actual water contamination. In Istanbul, Buenos Aires, or Moscow, the show took places in a violent climate of political tensions, which were increased on stage, and moreover in the audience. Interactions with reality – literal or allegorical – are particularly obvious, thanks to this theatrical machine. We do not only want to analyse this theatrical machine. We also want to gather records about the reception of the audience, about these “people” who have an enemy on stage and whom one gives a chance to speak.  

We would like to understand, for each, its political issue. We would like to compare performances which are already studied (in Avignon, Montreal, London), to others : in Belfast, Moscow, Calcutta... Through those different reactions, we are convinced it is possible to draw an image of what could be nowadays a political theatre (and even, in this special case of the Schaubühne, an institutional theatre). Thus we call for records and analyses of shows, in French and in English.  

We would like a review of the audience’s reaction, and of the debate, especially the themes people dealt with, their involvement and how they took part during the show. Each show uses the whole fictitious machine that is particular to the play and at the same time deals with the “reality” of each place, people (it happens often that comedians adapt some remarks to the context of a precise audience, according to its horizon of aspiration). Our aim is to produce a collection of articles for a publication in 2016. Please take note that the first edition of the collection will be in French, so all papers written in English will be translated. 

Since the debates were different each night, please make sure to mention the precise date and place of the performance you assisted to. We hope to read different accounts from the same cities (London, Paris and Montreal particularly). 

Sublission guidelines

Before March 21st 2016, we expect texts ranging from 1000 to 5000 words for the following performances : 

  • Avignon (July 2012)
  • Melbourne (October 2012)
  • Lyon (January/February 2013)
  • Montreal (May 2013)
  • Quebec (May 2013)
  • Athens (July 2013)
  • Venice (August 2013)
  • São Paulo (September 2013)
  • Buenos Aires (October 2013)
  • New York (November 2013)
  • Paris (January/February 2014)
  • Rennes (March 2014)
  • Siegen (May 2014)
  • Istanbul (May 2014)
  • Oslo (September 2014)
  • London (September 2014)
  • Moscow (October 2014)
  • Belfast (October 2014)
  • Cluj-Napoca (November 2014)
  • Lausanne (February 2015)
  • Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai (February 2015)
  • Naples (June 2015)
  • Pilsen (September 2015)
  • Tbilisi (October 2015)
  • Minsk (October 2015) 

Contact : claire.legendre@umontreal.ca, maxime.raymond.bock@umontreal.ca

Scientific committee

  • Claire Legendre, professeure, département des littératures de langue française de l’Université de Montréal.
  • Maxime R. Bock, étudiant au doctorat, département des littératures de langue française del’Université de Montréal.

Date(s)

  • Monday, March 21, 2016

Keywords

  • Ostermeier, Un ennemi du peuple, Enemy of the People, théâtre, débat, démocratie, santé publique

Contact(s)

  • Claire Legendre
    courriel : claire [dot] legendre [at] umontreal [dot] ca
  • Maxime R. Bock
    courriel : maxime [dot] raymond [dot] bock [at] umontreal [dot] ca

Information source

  • Maxime Raymond Bock
    courriel : maxime [dot] raymond [dot] bock [at] umontreal [dot] ca

To cite this announcement

« Enemy of the People, Thomas Ostermeier », Miscellaneous information, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, February 09, 2016, https://calenda.org/355502

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