Arab-Muslim theatre defended
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This article re-visits Greek and Arab-Muslim theatres from the avant-garde perspective to illuminate the aesthetics of theatre to which scholars in the School of Orientalism and the School of Arab Intelligentsia should return when evaluating Arab-Muslim theatre. Without this illumination, scholars, as this article shows, will fail to objectively read and correctly evaluate Arab-Muslim histrionic practices. Availing itself of Abdelkbir Khatibi’s double approach and proceeding from the conviction that theatre is the achievement of both actors and spectators while drama is an artistic linguistic creation, the article critiques the findings of these schools and challenges Orientalist writing which is “after all writing and not reality.” This article therefore deems it needful to unearth or more precisely to review avant-garde aesthetics of performance to explain the concept of theatre and to call into question the findings of the schools in question. However, before critiquing these schools, which delineated the subject matter from already disregarded perspectives, this article starts by investigating Greek tragedy in order to examine what theatre is or is meant to be in the hope of building a logical premise. It sheds significant luster on Greek tragedy from the avant-garde perspective to direct attention to the urgent epistemological task of reconsidering and deconstructing hegemonic European historiography which thrives with creating “gaps, absences, lapses, ellipses” in the cultures of others. This article is but an attempt to fill in these gaps and voids and to conceptually challenge Orientalist writing around Arab-Muslim theatre.