EVENT Mar 11
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Rethinking Time and Space: Early Modern Theatre (NeMLA)

Organization: NeMLA
Event: NeMLA
Categories: British, Medieval, Early Modern & Renaissance, Long 18th Century, Romantics, Victorian, 20th & 21st Century
Event Date: 2021-03-11 to 2021-03-14 Abstract Due: 2020-09-30

Recent scholarship has reimagined both concepts of temporality and spatiality in the early modern theater. In this session, we will closely study and reimagine both conceptual frameworks of time and space to discover their significance to the play, its playwrights, and theatre-goers. Temporality is no longer a mathematical study of the duration of the play, a linear progression of the play’s events from prologue to Act V, nor a matter for historians of culture to showcase from point A to point B, the Creation to the Last Judgement. Rather, time is a subject which is intrinsic to so many aspects of what it means to be human. We will closely analyze what time means to characters such as Macbeth or Prospero. Spatiality, widely recognized as a conception of mathematical and physical sciences in the early modern period, is now a subject we understand for playwrights and actors to create onstage for performances, construct in the playhouse environment, and practice in their social relationships, among other ideologies. We will examine what space means to characters such as Othello and Desdemona. The scope of our understanding about time and space has progressed and brought these subjects to question within the early modern theatre.

This session will closely analyze and reimagine these conceptual frameworks in early modern plays, both in text and onstage. You will better understand how theatre plays with time and space for viewers’ entertainment, adhering to traditional linear timelines at times, while defying it by constructing nonlinear timelines and liminal spaces at others.

Participants will feel empowered to understand early modern theatre and will recognize how evolving traditions of time and space in the humanities has changed both the real and the imaginary world of theatre.


Megha Pancholi