Curious Objects on the Early Modern Stage - Renaissance Society of America in Berlin - 26-28 March 2015

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Panel sponsored by Epistémè (Research Group on Early Modern England - Université Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Though stage properties were less numerous on the early modern stage, they were more than mere accessories. The candles, torches, plants, swords and even canons that were used in the Globe Theatre, for instance, were all real objects that had not been designed specifically for the stage. Their transfer to a space of theatrical exhibition and representation poses many questions. This panel invites papers that investigate the material history of objects used on stage, the diversity of their dramatic qualities, the ways in which the stage interrogated their status as objects, as well as the ways in which they might have reciprocally determined the stage. How might they have invigorated and transformed theatrical practices? What can be said of their shifting status when exposed on stage? Did they not invite the spectators to see them in a new light, suddenly revealing how strange or curious they might have been? Some of the stage properties detained by companies were common objects of everyday life. Others, however, were much more rare. A company that possessed a lion skin, for instance, may have chosen to perform plays that would enable it to exhibit or advertise such an object of curiosity, turning the stage into a space continuous to cabinets of curiosities. From that perspective, objects may have influenced dramatic and theatrical productions, given that the possession of certain objects may even have determined choices of composition on the part of playwrights. The multiple interactions between "curious" objects and the life of the stage may help to elucidate the shaping of the audience's own "curious gaze" as a central, dramatic principle.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 150 words along with a title and a list of keywords to by June 8 2014. The RSA also requires a one-page C.V. (no more than 300 words). It must include degrees awarded, institutional affiliation, major publications. Please do not send a prose bio.