Staging Plays from the Terezin Ghetto Today: Incorporating Historical Context into the Performance

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27 March 2018 - 5 PM

Lisa Peschel (University of York)

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During the 40-month project Performing the Jewish Archive, we experimented with type of performance, which we called co-textual performance, to try to generate more intense audience engagement. That is, when we attempt to re-stage scripts written by Jewish authors during World War II, the historical context is one of the most important aspects of the plays. We argued that present-day spectators would be more engaged if they knew the historical background, but how to best present it? We proposed that performed scenes regarding the history, which would be presented as ‘co-texts’ – that is, incorporated into, and just as important as, the script itself – would be more effective than more traditional pre-show talks or program notes that treat the historical information as context. In this talk I describe how we created co-textual performances and how we tested their effect on the audience.

About

Modern Jewish History Seminar

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The seminar is intended to provide a platform for academic discussion about the latest research on Jewish history especially of the last three centuries. Though primarily focused on the Jews of central and east central Europe, the seminar also includes topics related to the Jews of other regions. The seminar is further enriched by including topics not directly concerned with Jews, but enabling one to see Jewish history from other perspectives (for instance, the perspective of other marginalized communities).

Despite our preference for the methods of historical research, the organizers welcome multidisciplinary approaches to the topics, including those of sociology, political science, religious studies, and art history.

The seminar is held in the library of CEFRES, Na Florenci 3, Prague 1 always at 5:30 p.m. The language of the seminar is English. The seminar is organized by Kateřina Čapková and Michal Frankl. Since 2018/2019 the seminar is included into the MA program of the Prague Center for Jewish Studies at the Charles University. Due to Michal Frankl’s stay abroad this academic year, all the questions and suggestions should be sent to Kateřina Čapková (capkova@usd.cas.cz).

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