Over the past decade there has been increased critical attention paid to the intersection of theatre and medicine; although the relationship between the two is far from new. Medicine and science, along with philosophy, religion and the arts, are the central to our society’s efforts to comprehend the mystery of being, to explain pain and to address mortality. Yet, unlike the metaphysical quest present in the narratives of religion, or transcendental philosophies, theatre and medicine share a fundamental preoccupation with what goes on between birth and death.
Issue #17 of Critical Stages/Scènes Critiques invites essays that focus specifically on contemporary medicine-related plays, performances and issues. For Baudrillard, “the characteristic hysteria of our times” is “that of the production and the reproduction of the real” and the production of “values and commodities.” With his words in mind, what does the fusion of theatre and medicine seek to address in a twenty-first-century context? The emergence of counter-narratives or the construction of realities? The value of multivocality or the commodification of reality?
Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Negotiating boundaries of illness and health; of life and death
- Staged vs. actual illness: content vs. form; assessing reception; the critic’s role
- The doctor-patient relationship
- Representation of medical topics, illness, and the hospitalized/suffering/dying body in theatre: sociopolitical, aesthetic and ethical considerations
- Popular theatre and illness: a contradiction in terms? Awareness-raising or profit-making enterprise?
- Body-as-machine, body-as-battlefield, the “biomedical gaze” and other metaphors: truths and myths of medicine as tackled on stage/in performance
- Theatre, medicine, technology: acting under/beyond the skin; exploring new aesthetic horizons; the technological sublime
- From anatomy to prosthetics, neuroscience and gene mapping: staged perspectives on the notions of self/other, the individual against the State, and precarious existence
- Theatre assisting/attacking the practices of medicine
- On spectatorship: sensation vs. interpretation
- The role of theatre and the arts in medical education: instrumental benefits
- Theatre-based learning in medical education, the Narrative Medicine paradigm, and the rising academic field of Critical Medical Humanities
- Practicing medicine as performance: professionalism, empathy, and ethical caregiving
- Beyond Western medicine: foundational concepts (i.e. doctor, patient, pain, illness, experience) in theatre/performance around the world
Further information about IATC, Critical Stages, and the CfP can be found on their website.
Submissions (maximum 3,500 words, including notes and works cited) should be sent by email to the editor of this special issue, Dr Vinia Dakari. The deadline for proposals is 1 August 2017, with first drafts for accepted papers due 1 February 2018.