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Saturday March 16 | Session 13:15 - 14:45 (20 min) University Theatre Building | University Theatre
Contemporary theatre often takes up the game between fiction and reality.

Most often the idea is to disturb the symbolic order by introducing onto the stage children or animals or actors with bodily impediments. What happens when a fictional frame is completely broken?


An example of such a definite violation is the presentation of Genet a Tangeri by Magazzini Criminali in the slaughterhouse of Riccione in 1985 (shorter version of the production from 1984). The slaughtershouse employees killed a horse during the performance. The company intention was to create a metaphor for the violence that people impose on other people and our indifference for suffering of others. Violence witnessed from a close-up was to regain its scandalous dimension. There was no intermediary in the form of an aesthetical convention to weaken the impact of the image. The audience was completely (emotionally and bodily) immersed in what was happening. The performance caused a nationwide scandal in Italy, which turned into a lynching and ended with the withdrawal of part of the funding to one of the most acclaimed Italian companies of the time.

My intention is not to decide whether the Magazzini gesture was right or wrong. I will present its paradoxes and compare the performance with more recent events in order to include it in a larger reflection on contemporary theatrical scandals. In ancient Greece, the word skandalon meant a trap, an obstacle. In this specific case, the scandal turned out to be a trap for all people involved.

Dorota Semenowicz is a graduate of the University of Paris III Sorbonne-Nouvelle, France, with a PhD in humanities from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. She works in the Dramaturgy Department of the National Theatre in Warsaw and in programming for the Malta Festival Poznań. She is author of a book Theatre of Romeo Castellucci and Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio. From Icon to Iconoclasm, from Word to Image, from Symbol to Allegory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, Polish version: 2013) and editor of essay collections on Rodrigo Garcia, Flemish theatre, the relationship between aesthetics and ethics among others. She is a lecturer at Akademia Teatralna in Warsaw. Currently she works on the notion of theatre scandal.
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