Antinomies in Today’s Realistic Theatre: A Critique from an Affective Theory Perspective

Frithwin Wagner-Lippok


According to the recent book Lob des Realismus (“Praise of Realism”) by Bernd Stegemann, postdramatic theatre has fallen into the trap of poststructuralist
and postmodern positions and lamentably failed to tackle the task of realism. The author holds that in theatre the re-instatement of mimesis is the realistic processing of a material, achieved through the dialec-tic analysis of its contents and historical context. The present article touches the core positions of this criticism, paradigmatically illustrated by René Pollesch’s production Kill your Darlings from 2012, advancing against them an argument from affect theory based upon considerations by another critic of postmodernity, Fredric Jameson: Stegemann’s criticism, intonated on behalf of realism, is sublated on the basis of a different realism model resulting in a diametrically opposed appreciation of Pollesch’s paradigm Kill your Darlings that in the light of Jameson’s theory appears to be a remarkably realistic theatre production. Its success with critics and the audience, as well as the presented affect-theoretical approach, conflict with Stegemann’s position, and it remains uncertain but interesting, even if only for episte-mological reasons, if and how both perspectives can be reconciled.

Paraules clau

affective realism, affect theory, affective space, German contemporary theatre, phenomenology

Text complet:



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