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Periodic Report Summary 1 - THEATRICALITY (The Antitheatrical Prejudice: Roman Ban on Permanent Theater and the Triumph of Pompey)

My project “Theatricality,” analyses the Republican Roman ban on the permanent theatre with an interdisciplinary method and within a global Hellenistic context. The existing literature, building on literary sources in Rome, presents the ban as a consequence of an antagonism between Roman elites and the masses. Reading theatrical space and dramatic literature with a performative method and interpreting the results within a global Hellenistic context, my work presents the Roman ban on the permanent theatre as a symptom of an ongoing power struggle between the two kinds of Roman elites, the Roman Senate and the powerful political actors like Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus.

To verify my argument, I carried out research at Roman theatres in South Italy and Sicily. Since I interpret the theatrical space based on the performance conditions in the ancient theatres, I participated in a workshop on ancient Greek theatre where I observed spatial dynamics at first hand while we performed a choral play adapted from Thucydides. The preliminary findings of my research confirmed my initial hypotheses that 1) the diminishing size of the orkhestra, the communal dancing ground, corresponded to the diminishing power of democratic institution and increasing grandeur of stage building, indicated to the increased power of political actors 2) In each Hellenistic/Roman city state power balance/negotiation between the opposing poles of community and political actors was reflected in the shape of the scenic space and materials of the stage building —whether the materials were permanent or transient.

Since above described work was theoretically and methodologically tied to my dissertation research, editing of my dissertation as a book has been carried out parallel to the research on the Antitheatrical Prejudice. The manuscript reworked from the first two chapters, the theoretical core, presented a theatrical and spatio-visual technology skēnographia. Deeply informed by ancient optical science, skēnographia, allied the perspectival developments in architecture, painting and sculpture. It also effected conflation of the Hellenistic theatre and urban setting in terms of their viewing dynamics. Hence this article grounded my interdisciplinary and performative methodology as an Hellenistic artistic, architectural and theatrical production method.

While both in the Antitheatrical Prejudice and my dissertation research, I study vision as a spatio-visual technology, I also finished a research on Roman sanctuaries of Asklepios, where I study the relationship between the sense of vision and the touch. My historical research also informed my approach to design research at Istanbul Kemerburgaz University, where I currently teach an interior design studio focused on the sense of touch. Kemerburgaz University in a combined program in architecture and interior architecture encouraged me to integrate my background in the fields of architecture, architectural history and art history. Here, I taught not only courses in my field of specialization but also in the field of architectural design, interior architecture, i.e. ergonomy, and historical preservation. While teaching a variety of courses caused some delays and deviations in my historical research, they opened up future avenues of research increasing the breadth of my knowledge.

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Life Sciences
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