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Association Française pour le Rayonnement du Théâtre du Château de Drottningholm

Aesthetics 2002 Pierre Corneille
Aesthetics 05/2003


Representing an operatic piece on stage is an opportunity to confront theory and practice. When doing so, the study of historical sources, indeed, gives indications about how operas were performed at the time they were written. But such an analysis of a text, aiming to recreate a performance, is worth only as far as it adopts and integrates the intellectual categories of the piece, not ours. The aim of this program is to show how eighteenth century intellectual structures, not only give way to a better contextual understanding of the works, but also allow oneself to escape this contextualisation and to question our contemporary practice of theatre. 

The first study, implementing this thesis through an example, is dedicated to the Parties intégrantes of the classical drama, as defined by Pierre Corneille, as a reference to Aristote's Poetique in his Discours de l'utilité et des parties du poème dramatique (1660), part of the foreword to his own theatrical works: « Le poème est composé de deux sortes de parties. Les unes sont appelées parties de quantité, ou d'extension; et Aristote en nomme quatre: le prologue, l'épisode, l'exode et le chœur. Les autres se peuvent nommer des parties intégrantes, qui se rencontrent dans chacune de ces premières pour former tout le corps avec elles. Ce philosophe y en trouve six: le sujet, les mœurs, les sentiments, la diction, la musique, et la décoration du théâtre. ». 

The project aims first to show that a detailed study of well chosen elements of a piece -selected on the criteria of an historical definition of theatre- enables accurate decision-making in its performance. But behind this materialistic goal is hiding an other bet: the one of human spirit, able to free himself to the designed structure and to transpose it, in order to forecast and design new works. 

Rémy-Michel Trotier
July 2002


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