> βίαιος/η/ο

The adjective ‘violent’ derives from the noun ‘violence’. According to the New Hellenic Lexicon of Emmanouil Kriaras et al, the noun ‘violence’ means primarily ‘the use of various means to impose one’s own will’. In our case, given that we are concerned with the performing arts, the artist’s will could be identified as an aesthetic and – more generally – creative vision of the artist, who has a goal that they are trying to achieve through their art, using as their means their own self, the movements of their body and their speaking voice, their work as a ‘sign’. In ancient Greek tragedy, and even though the myths on which these tragedies were based were full of potential in terms of the representations of violence they offered, writers were reluctant to offer violence to the spectators of their works. 

Following Aristotle’s ‘Poetics’, they had to offer reality in an idealised way. In contemporary times – today, in 2011 – much has changed, even though a lot remains the same. Hence, both audiences and critics, as much as artists themselves, draw elements from representational codes from other traditions, not from ancient theatre – and particularly from outside Europe, if we think of Artaud – and seek the representation of violence in such a truthful way that the boundaries between the representation of reality and reality itself are blurred; so much so that in the end the physical health and safety of those involved is in danger. In the end, it seems that experimental theatre at least is ‘Re-ritualized’ so that the boundaries between art and reality remain under negotiation. 

Author: Spyros Petritis
Translator: Efrosini Protopapa