Darren Gobert, "Purge"
Friday, October 9, 2020 - 9:30am to 11:00am
View Darren Gobert's full tgiFHI talk below!
For more on Darren Gobert's work, read his interview in our "Meet Your Humanities Faculty" series. Dr. Gobert describes the process of reconstructing and imagining the unknowable in performance studies, the way cultural scripts pass through our bodies both on stage and in everyday life, and why theater artists can still create performances in lockdown.
In this talk, I examine one of modern theater's most iconic representations of catharsis - Suddenly, Last Summer - and excavate the cultural assumptions that made it possible. Tennessee Williams's play, I show, gained its force at a time when playwrights were priming their creativity by submitting to psychoanalysis and when stars were plumbing their own emotional memories under the guise of "Method acting" and the guidance of gurus such as Lee Strasberg. The work is drawn from my current book project, a history of catharsis. It turns away from questions about what Aristotle meant when he introduced the concept in Poetics and toward questions about its cultural endurance and ever-mutating significations.
R. Darren Gobert, William and Sue Gross Professor of Theater Studies and Professor of English, specializes in comparative Western drama, dramatic and performance theory, and the philosophy of theatre. His publications include The Theatre of Caryl Churchill and The Mind-Body Stage: Passion and Interaction in the Cartesian Theater (Stanford UP), which won best book prizes from both the Canadian Association for Theatre Research and the American Society for Theatre Research. From 2015 to 2020, he was editor of the quarterly Modern Drama.