Liminality, trickster, imitation, interference,
Girard, Serres, Shakespeare, Molière, Bulgakov
The history, and the present, of the theatre offers a goldmine of information about social processes and the state of the social world. However, theatricalised forms of conduct, and in particular the promotion of theatricalization encompass areas way beyond the theatre. Here an entire line of development can be indicated, in a sketch: in a series of ever more accelerating changes in the 20th century the theatre yielded its place to the cinema, then video-recorders, then the internet – and basically this is where we now are, at a particular end-station or ‘endgame’ (Beckett).
Given the focus of this book on the theatre, and not its heirs, the paper will focus on three instances of theatre as social indicator and catalyst: Shakespeare, Molière and Bulgakov. They illustrate particularly well how the theatre reveals the ‘state of soul’ of a society, while on the other hand infecting society with mimetic desire, similarly to the infections of a parasite, revealing a, mutual interplay or interference between an indicator and an agent, also characteristic of all medias.