CFP: What We Do: Thinking/Practicing Theatre (5/1/06; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Robert Craig Baum
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May 1, 2006

What We Do: Thinking/Practicing Theatre

Robert Craig Baum, Scholar in Residence
European Graduate School
English Faculty, New Hampshire Community Technical College
Humanities Faculty, Community College of Vermont

Modeled after Mark Edmundson’s _Wild Orchids and Trotsky_ and H. Aram Veesers’s _Confessions of the Critics_, this collection seeks to answer the deceptively colloquial question, “So, what do you do again?” Theatre artists, scholars etc. have all heard it, answered it. Now, perhaps, we can “dwell” with it, use this question to test ourselves and explore the very possibilities that helped to shock us into the life-long study of theatre (itself).

“Oh: you’re an actor?”

In his _Handbook of Inaesthetics_, Alain Badiou explores how theatre thinks, how theatricality is a site of intellectual (embodied) expression. Perhaps Badiou extends to theatre studies an invitation to think about Herbert Blau’s notion of “blooded thought,” August Wilson’s “blood memory,” Diana Taylor’s “embodied practice,” Aime Cesaire’s “plasmatic dimension,” and other attempts to transform historiography into a “memory of what has been missed” (Michel de Certeau). In other words, theatre as “[e]xpression is always on the move, always engrossed in its own course, overspilling individual experience, nomadically evadingg responsibility. It is self-transporting, serially across experiences” (Brian Massumi, _A Shock to Thought_, Routledge, 2002, xxi).

“So . . . ummmmmm: you’re not an actor?”

“What We Do” wants to understand how theatre thinks and explore how scholarship and performance surprise readers, audiences, professors, students, and (en)actors. Badiou again: “The public comes to the theatre to be struck. Struck by theatre-ideas. It does not leave the theatre cultivated, but stunned, fatigued (thought is tiring), pensive. Even in the loudest laughter, it has not encountered any satisfaction. It has encountered ideas whose existence it hitherto did not suspect” (77). The “What We Do” project, in other words, invites theatre thinkers (student/teacher, marinating/seasoned scholar, researcher/designer) to quite frankly “profess” their views on their pedagogy, ideology, professional ethics, sense of the field, tactics and strategies, and, of course, the artists, works, and ideas that first “struck,” surprised, “stunned,” and shocked them into a life-long love (and possibly love/hate) relationship with a theatre that “is always on the !

“Okay. Wait. Let me get this straight: you’re not an actor. You study theatre. But, don’t you also write scripts, direct plays, and play with lights and expensive sound equipment?”

Please feel free to submit creative, interdisciplinary non-fiction, theatre texts, reflections/memoirs, roasts and/or “war stories,” critical essays, and experimental historiography. Selected writers will be encouraged to view their central task as one which passes on of knowledge through storytelling. Abstracts should describe how the writer(s) intend to articulate a better pedagogical relationship between classroom and panel, office hours and research hours, publication and highway-styled mental freewriting and other Adjunct/Tenured coping mechanisms.
“I swear I saw you act in that play on campus. (long pause) Oh. So you act and direct and write about, teach, and study theatre. Oh. (even longer pause) Then, what’s your Ph.D. in . . .?

Phone: 802-333-4682

When you email, please include the words "What We Do" in your subject heading. Inquiries are more than welcome. That is, if you wish to discuss your upcoming proposal, please feel free to do so. (Instant Messaging is another possibility.)

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Received on Tue Mar 07 2006 - 18:22:16 EST