Intercultural Theater, Globalized Theater

Historical Situation of the Opposition

The key problem in understanding what is new about globalized theater is that of distinguishing it from intercultural theater, to which it is often and sometimes inadvertently fused. It is necessary to point out the differences between the two in order to grasp the new and irreversible changes ushered in by cultural globalization at the turn of the millennium.

Interculturalism, the productive meeting of two civilizations in literature and art, has existed in Europe since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But it is only since the end of the nineteenth century, and up until the 1930s, that theater really attempts intercultural exchange, particularly in terms of acting styles and mise en scene (Artaud). Interculturalism thus participates in post-Baudelairean modernism; it experiments with the magic of mise en scene, which had only just been “invented” and systematized. Whether it likes it or not, interculturalism shares links with exoticism, and even with colonialism. It is criticized for its Eurocentrism, at least until the theorizations and experiments of Peter Brook or Ariane Mnouchkine in the 1970s and 1980s. It is accused, and not without a certain demagogy, of appropriating defenceless cultures.

Globalized theater sweeps aside such criticisms since, far removed from the “culture of links” of Brook, it starts by defining itself as a “transcultural product for inter-national audiences.”12 Thus there is no longer any question of Eurocentrism, nor indeed, at least for now, of “sino- centrism”, or even Asia-centrism! With the emergence of globalized theater, the question of how a culture might encounter another by way of theater is no longer asked, instead cultures are assessed in terms of their ability to cooperate internationally, in terms of the means at their disposal, in order to be integrated into a world culture in constant development.

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