Text theatricality. An integrated approach through narratology and performance studies

Start - End 
2013 - 2017 (ongoing)
Research Period 
Research Language 



Aristotle claimed in his Ars Poetica that drama specifically differs from the other two literary genres (i.e. epic and poetry) because of the absence of a mediating narrator and because of the intrinsic characteristic that speech of the dramatic characters (dialogue) evokes the dramatic act. However, the aesthetics and ambition of the epic theatre by Bertolt Brecht reveal that narrative strategies can indeed underly drama and theatre and these are even used to undermine the illusion of identification. Moreover, scientific debates of the last decades demonstrate an interest in the narrative potential of dramas, as analyses on teichoscopy, reports by messengers, authorial stage directions, recapitulating choir, monologue, stage whisper etc. point out. Yet one can find several intersections between more recent theatre texts and a certain mode of "narrative storytelling" nowadays. Although post-dramatic authors and directors try to extinguish the aesthetic superiority of the drama within their texts and stagings, the presence of a narrative impetus in some current performances is undeniable (cf. Lehmann). René Pollesch, for instance, makes use of non-literary materials, such as sociological and philosophical textual fragments, and combines them with references to the popular culture in order to create a so-called 'discourse-theatre'. By focusing on this form of theatre this PhD aims at an interdisciplinary approach towards a transmedial application of the term 'narration' and at an innovative perspective on contemporary German theatre.



Phd Student(s)


Inge Arteel

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Johan Callens

Vrije Universiteit Brussel