Global Humanities Junior Fellow at Freie Universitaet Berlin
August - December 2016
Theater as a Philosophical System: a Study on Metatheatre Devices in Calderón de la Barca’s Works
In 17th century Spanish drama, and especially in Calderón’s works, the question of knowledge and the process that humans need to follow in order to access it is a determinant part of its composition. Theory or experience, knowledge or savoir-faire. The first leads to infinity: the King in La vida es sueño lives, indeed, among the stars and their omens, but on the way, forgets about the humanity that binds him to his son, Segismundo. The second, captured in time and space, in the present moment, reunites theory and reality, father and son, but by doing so, it disables the possibility of a higher knowledge, a transcendent one. The question this research would like to answer is: how does Calderón’s theatre engage a reflexive interaction with philosophical theory, as a way to understand through make-believe and fiction reality and the place man occupies in it? Metatheater functions here as an access to this understanding, giving the keys to enter the philosophical system theatre in general implements on stage, by showing the strings the author normally pulls in secret.
Maria Ridao Mestres is a Graduate student at the Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, in Literature and Theater. She is currently pursuing her MA degree in “Arts and Language” at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, under the direction of Prof. Pierre Judet de la Combe. She is also working along side six other students, with theatre director Thomas Jolly in his production Fantasio by Jacques Offenbach at the Opera Comique in Paris, in a collaboration trying to bridge theoretical research and performing arts.