From site to territory: Hypothesis about the in situ theatre landscape in France
Sorbonne Nouvelle University (France, Paris)
Keywords: in situ, site-specific theatre, hors les murs, In Vitro Collective, Georgette Leblanc, André Engel, French theatre
Abstract: Barely theorised about in the academic world in France, the term in situ refers to very heterogeneous artistic and professional practices: from site-specific creation to programming outside of theatre walls, in a school or a public square, of an indoors-conceived show. It tends to be confused with other categories — “hors les murs” (“outside walls”), “street arts”, or “creation in public space” (all disciplines combined), which do not actually cover the in situ field, and have their own sectoral specific network and issues. It also inherits missions linked to the history of cultural institutions in France. As a result, in situ performing arts practices are caught up in issues — professional, economic, political as well as aesthetic — that need to be explained. This article therefore proposes an analysis of the formation and structuring of this aesthetic and professional landscape in France, as well as the theoretical difficulties it raises, and elaborates the definition of in situ theatre as what pragmatic sociology would conceptualize as a “city”. The study considers a diachronic theoretical, critical and dramatic corpus representative of the tension between aesthetic experimentation and the socio-political stakes involved in conquering a territory. Starting in the 1910s with a Macbeth staged by Georgette Leblanc, Maurice Maeterlinck’s companion, in a former abbey, and the Théâtre du peuple in Bussang, through the turn of the 1970s–1980s, and into the present day, namely, with two in situ creations by the In Vitro collective, Tchekhov dans la ville (“Tchekhov within the city”), and Série Noire / La chambre bleue, an itinerant site-specific drama based on a “noir” novel by Simenon.
Acknowledgements: This article was translated with the support of Moscow Centre for Franco-Russian Research (Centre d’études franco-russe de Moscou — CEFR).
To cite this article: Mouton-Rezzouk, A. (2022). From site to territory: Hypothesis about the in situ theatre landscape in France (E. I. Gordienko, Trans. from French). Shagi/Steps, 8(1), 10–26. (In Russian). https://doi.org/10.22394/2412-9410-2022-8-1-10-26.