Staging the Genesis of a World: the Unknown Unknowns of Romeo Castellucci
Performance and theatre studies scholars have hailed the “liveness” of performance in terms of a disappearance and loss that resists reproduction, but have generally neglected to consider alternative definitions of the live as that which is “full of active power” or “contains unexpended energy.” In other words, we have often overlooked the creative power of the live event and the fact that what is to come remains more or less unknown. How might one retain this future-bound dimension of the live event–what might be called its potentiality as a medium–without succumbing to an anticipated end, without killing off the full range of its active power? How might the blank page of the theatre contain its unwritten future statements? As part of a larger book project on the Futures of Performance, this talk seeks to isolate such potentiality by looking at a theatre event that suspends a world in the process of becoming. But in order to speak of a field rich with the potential for differentiation we must also speak of the nature of this ground, some source or medium from which emergence may come. There is no emergence ex nihilo or, as Lear would have it, “nothing comes of nothing.” By narratively restaging a brief 10-minute performance by the Italian experimental director Romeo Castellucci of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio, I will explore how creation in the theatre is an inherently apocalyptic venture; it must destroy a world in order to create another.