PoMo Problems : Stoppard Files :

Dramatic compositions

Episodic Structure

Collage (Montage) instead of death of acting (Realism)

"Conceptualism" (Method and Style?)

... see right table, bottom.

Hamletmachine online in-class.

pm & pmdrama [pages]


Postmodern & Cinema [filmplus.org/600]


Script *
* 2006: POMO Project -- Pinter + Mamet (Gender)

Touch of PM

Picasso - Theatre Books
Postmodernism is highly debated even among postmodernists themselves. For an initial characterization of its basic premises, consider anthropological critic Melford Spiro's excellent synopsis of the basic tenets of postmodernism:

“The postmodernist critique of science consists of two interrelated arguments, epistemological and ideological. Both are based on subjectivity. First, because of the subjectivity of the human object, anthropology, according to the epistemological argument cannot be a science; and in any event the subjectivity of the human subject precludes the possibility of science discovering objective truth. Second, since objectivity is an illusion, science according to the ideological argument, subverts oppressed groups, females, ethnics, third-world peoples." (Spiro 1996). *

Brenner: What were you trying to do with Hamletmachine? What did you want to say? Why did you write it?
Muller: If I know what I want to say, I say it. I don't have to write it (1990a, 237).
I was schooled on modernist theories -- structuralism, existentialism, marxism, but I live in postmodern conditions. By the time I graduated from high-school, the great modernity era was over. There were seventies, eighties, nineties, and you can see how the new centure looks like, but nevertheless we still teach the values and methods of the Modern Age (even after Chekhov and Beckett).
It took us four centuries to complete the task. Sometimes we call it "Humanism" or "Age of Reason" -- what matters is that the Man as the measure of all things and the center of our intellectual universe is not there anymore.
That is where we stop. We don't know ourselves, we don't believe that we crossed the border Nietzsche wrote about. Oh yes, we use the words - super, hyper, cyber, para, pata, post... Being blind is the attribute of PM. Remember, the Revolutionary era is over. It's dark out there.
Interpretation is the work of the spectator and is not to take place on the stage. The spectator must not be absolved from this work. That's consumerism . . . capitalist theatre (Muller, quoted by Wright 1989, 130).

[Also, see new Research Directory @ Film-North]


PoMo * Postmodernity vs. the postmodern vs. postmodernism
Guilty as charged! I had to start discussion on postmodernism in the middle of the semester. It came naturally when we touch the issue of methodology: what analytical method do you use when you write your paper? They already heard about feminism, deconstruction theories, structuralism... Consistency in your methodological approach is no less important than staying with the subject of the paper.

To understand the role of method is to move into the dark waters of contemporary literary theory.

Here are my notes for THR 413 Playscript Analysis class --

POMO: REVIEW (see my writing @ Film-North, especially -- POV, PostAmeriKa, Tech).


How do you understand Pastiche in Fredric Jameson Postmodernism and Consumer Society?
New Marxism (mostly aesthetics).

Why does Kushner use "Split scene" device in Angels in America?

Why does Nietzsche position Apollo against Donysus (The Birth of Tragedy)?

"Angels in America": pm construction of sex (Foucault)?

Texture as Structure, Style as Genre

"Salome" (couldn't find anything to represent the most modern mindset (too ugly). Alright, you don't believe me. Here's 3D digital art with the title "Evil Chick" (I have to look up the artist's name and his website; image?). You compare the two images, which are not only different in technology, but in values. Way beyond any modernity of Stindberg on sex and gender! (Notes on "70 Scenes of Halloween" by Jeffrey Jones. Sex is our own construction. Gender is only a framework, the rest is a self-tailored creation.)

["gender" page in THEMES subdirectory]


I wrote a lot of pages on Pomo, but they are not for students in Dramlit class. I have to find words to explain this intellectual movement in simple terms...

[most of PM quotations -- POV, SELF, TECH nonfiction]

After Modernity

The radical consequences of PM (Postmodernism) are not fully understood. For example, the principle of "theory" is now in question. PM preserves only formal continuity, not essential. (Although the linkage -- montage -- is an active/visual thought).

PM is a strange negation of modernity. In its own name pomo refering to the five centiries of modernity. Postmodern can't fully rebel and departure from the past. Like a parasite it lives on references. Not suprisingly we have all the familiar forms of drama, but they are FORMS. Pomo IMMITATES, it's "cut-n-paste" mind, when the eclectics indeed became a method.

If you understood the problems of high modernity, you can see the birth of pomo. PM disintegration of society is possible because of the extreme level of connection in mass society. Therefore, we can leave "the social" in form, when in fact we do not society. The same with values.

I had to give my students the dates. I wrote on the blackboard "1968" (I even added "Summer"). That was the time when the postwar "babyboomers," the first generation of the Atomic Age, spoke their minds. They showed a different sensitivity. They demonstrated the break... and the fact that "generations" are also history. From now on there will no "era" and "epochs": history collapsed.

Of course, there always will be theatres and pm people will write their plays, but there will be no new artistic discoveries...

From THEATRE @ Suite101

Read the article -- this discussion is about An Open Letter to Leonard

Date: January 27, 1999 2:02 AM
Subject: Leonard Bernstein

It's not just Leonard Bernstein. I write to the dead, too, and it's always open letters without any "great expectations of receiving a reply."
Steven, when my students ask me when this "postmodern" shift took place, I say - 1968, sometimes I even add -- in the Summer of 1968. It was over thirty years ago and my entire adult life is in it -- the After.
Did they lie to themselves? Maybe, we all do. I guess, they thought that the door into future is wide open and art somehow will exist on a separate track from the rest of the real world, which was commercial. It was a matter of time, before they themselves became commodities. In my ex-Soviet view it's all the grand result of democratization (we prefer to call mass or pop culture). In Moscow we believed that Art (and we) will never see the light of day. It's hard to accept the fact that the same applies in America. I do not blaim Bernstein's generation, they didn't know it, they were too much into present. They were happy at the time when artist/prophet should be in horror. Their happiness was paid by the previous generation of artists, who saw the future.
No, I do not tell my students about my underground Russian wisdom; I don't have a heart to say that if they want Art, they should be ready to live when no one will ever know them.

[ pomo.vtheatre.net ] Beckett

Go to super-market to see pomo art; it's everywhere. Turn on your TV. You see?

PostModern as Nonsense

Related pages: Beckett Dada Beyond Theatre Stage-on-Stage & eTheatre

Use POMO glossary!


See POMO dictionary (top right). Print and keep it with your THR413 class notes.

This page belongs to the vertical 413 (see 413 subdirectory)


Most of my own pomo writing is in the unfinished nonfiction. NTL, I have to stick with POMO. Yes, I understand the nostalgia for the absolute and fears of flexible "truth" -- but don't we all know by now that "relativic" approach was accepted even by physics? Marx, Nietzsche (you pick your favorite) wrote on this topic a lot and long ago (see Realism Page).
[ fistory.vtheatre.net ]
Next: POV
[ Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about Tom Stoppard ]

Spring 2007 Film Analysis
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