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Gulag and Ghetto theatres: on the edge of hell

Ilustrace
  • Kde: Knihovna Václava Havla, Ostrovní 13, Praha 110 00
  • Kdy: 19. březen 2018, 17:00 – 19:00

Live Theatre is cruelty and a scandal and heretic public event (A. Artaud, P. Brook, A. Badiou) and differs from dead “theatre” (agitation, ideological simulation). What does mean professional theatric events in Gulag’s Solovki prison camp and in Vorkutlag? Do they have parallels with Ghetto Theatres in Vilnius and Warsaw?

The paper analyses history of professional theatres in Solovki prison camp from 1923 – 1936 and Vorkuta’s musicdrama theater 1943 – 1950. Both cases present theater directors and artists semi-conformism and resistance per development of feeling of dignity, aesthetic taste or humanity in unhuman conditions, between guarantees of cruel death. Vorkuta’s theater opera, operetta and even cabaret was completely exclusive case in the history of Gulag archipelago (A. Solzhenitsyn). Everyday fear of death and famine, witnessing of hundreds of deaths on the streets and cruelty of Nazi regime are conditions of the most human Ghetto theater. Why theatres show the classics and what does mean the Artaud conception of “cruel theatre” if the lifeworld was completely cruel? What is the role of theatric sublime in the reconstruction of the lost lives?

Prof. dr., philosopher, anthropologist, artist Gintautas Mažeikis is the head of department of Philosophy and social critics at Vytautas Magnus University. He was born in Vorkuta (arctic region of Russia, Komi republic) in 1964, studied in Sankt-Petersburg State university (History of Philosophy, Renaissance. The first PhD was devoted to the Symbolical thinking of Renaissance in Vilnius University, Lithuania.  In 1998 he created first Center of Cultural Anthropology in Lithuania in Siauliai University and started neoshamanist and subcultural researches. He did art exhibitions devoted the topics. His second PhD (habilitation) presented Pragmatics and analytics of Philosophical anthropology, in Vilnius University. Mazeikis interests are analysis, critics and performations of symbolical and iconic thinking through the dramatic events. He considered the historical drama, trauma and memory, the society of the spectacle, phenomenon of self-persuasion and contemporary propaganda, dramatic Gulagian and Ghetto theatres, event and contemporary praxis of museums from postmodern existential point of view.

The event will be held entirely in English. Czech interpreting is not provided.

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„Mnozí dnešní Evropané či Američané pociťují bolestivě fakt, že euroamerická civilizace zničila svébytnost mimoevropských kultur, zakoušejí to jako svou vinu a cítí potřebu tuto vinu odčiňovat jakýmsi vciťováním se do jiných, přizpůsobováním se jim, podbízením se, touhou jim tak či onak „pomáhat“. To je podle mne falešná cesta… obsahuje opět onen známý pocit nadřazenosti… je to kolonialismus naruby. Je to intelektuálská křeč. Myslím, že si všichni nejlépe navzájem porozumíme, když si nebudeme na nic hrát, zůstaneme prostě všichni sami sebou a budeme se jen navzájem ctít a respektovat.“

Václav Havel:
Řeč při předávání Ceny Indíry Gándhíové, Dillí, 8. únor 1994