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Ancient Myths in the Making of Culture

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Malgorzata Budzowska and Jadwiga Czerwinska

The reception of Mediterranean Antiquity heritage is one of the dominant research areas in contemporary classical studies. This issue has constituted the scope of the conference Reception of Ancient Myths in Ancient, Modern and Postmodern Culture, which took place at the University of Łódź (Poland) in November 2013. The volume consists of the selected articles based on the conference papers. They are divided into the main chapters: Literature, Visual and Performing Arts and Philosophy as well as Anthropology. The authors consider different methods of reception of ancient myths focusing on various cultural phenomena: literature, fine arts, theatre, cinema and pop culture.
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Ancient Myth in Postmodern Theatre

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1

The theme of the paper assumes the existence of strong intercultural relationships between the myths of Mediterranean culture and contemporary European ways of thinking about current social anxieties, which can be observed in the theatre. The paper analyses the clash between the classical structure of ancient myth and postmodern aesthetics as well as the postmodern philosophy of art. The presentation is divided into two parts. Some theoretical issues relating to postmodernism in art, with a special focus on theatre, are explained in the first part. Subsequently, a few examples of the most recent productions from Polish theatres are presented and discussed in relation to the artistic manner of the reception of ancient myths on stage.

Introduction

As Patrice Pavis indicates, in contemporary theatre we deal with “(b)anal de-sacralisation of great texts [which] means that nothing is safe from water damage, from the pleasures of anal regression and from the imperious need to rub up against everything that is wet and dirty, from the anal, banal but normal phase” (Pavis 2013: 235). According to this conclusion, Pavis describes two radical traditions, and two forms of spectacle: wet and dry.

‘Wet theatre’ involves the actor’s energy, including physical destruction, obscenity, organic liquids, and dirt. In this type of performance physical risk is connected with the play with the text, which means arguing with the text (sensus de dicto) and with an unclear hypotext (sensus de re). On the other hand, ‘dry theatre’...

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