Cycles in Theatre Culture
History and culture develop in cycles. This has been mentioned by many famous philosophers and theorists, from Oswald Spengler to Pitirim Sorokin.
A cycle is always a localized time span, approximately 50 years. A new cycle represents the emergence of new trends - the end of the cycle represents their eradication and death. This is precisely how it happens in human life, as well as in culture and civilization as a whole.
The alternation of cycles has its own logic. Each new cycle begins in conflict with the previous one, ending in the rejection of the previous one. The Thaw of the 1950s destroyed the foundations of the Stalin era. However, the law of return also acts in cyclical development. In the most recent cycle, which began quite recently, we have seen a return to Soviet times. This return cannot be complete, it cannot literally repeat the past, but the law is still valid.
There is another pattern in the life of cycles. If one cycle is founded on rational grounds, the next one will necessarily exhibit irrationality. This is the law of inversion.
Cyclic theory reveals new horizons not only in the humanities, but also in the activities of practicing artists, as well as theatre researchers. This lecture will focus on why certain trends have arisen in the theatre culture, and what the predictions are for the future.
Polina Bogdanova is a theatre expert, the author of books and articles about Anatoly Vasilyev, an editor of Contemporary Drama journal, a doctor of art history.