Beelden van tijd : Op zoek naar de tijdsdramaturgie in de Proustcyclus van Guy Cassiers

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


Not only does theatre reflect our contemporary mediatized society, but theatre makers increasingly employ (digital) media in their performances that inspire and challenge them to explore new forms of making, showing and telling. As a consequence, new modes of audience address and involvement have developed. Internationally acclaimed Flemish theatre director Guy Cassiers is an example of a contemporary theatre maker who explores the aesthetic possibilities that these media have to offer. This dissertation focuses on the Proustcycle, a series of four performances that Cassiers created between 2003 and 2005 with the ro theatre, a Dutch theatre company based in Rotterdam. The series is based on Marcel Proust’s stream of consciousness novel, À la recherche du temps perdu (1913-1927). Cassiers uses different media – among them video, soundscapes and text projections – to express the subjective, inner world of the narrator on stage and to make his dreams, memories, desires and ideas perceptible to the audience. Of particular importance to these texts and to this dissertation is the concept of time as a special and crucial category of human experience. In both the novel and the theatre series, time is never based on principles of linearity, causality and progress. Nor is time a background against which actions take place. Instead, time manifests itself as a multifaceted, unreliable, and ever changing reality that confronts the subject. The dissertation falls roughly into two parts. The first part creates a historical and conceptual framework within which the (re)presentation of time in the cycle --and the role of media in it -- can be described and analyzed. For the historical context I use modernity as a perspective. Focusing on modern temporality I investigate how time is reflected upon and explored in early twentieth century avant-garde art, with a special focus on the early French film debate. For the conceptual framework I draw on the film philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, especially on his taxonomy of time-images. The second part consists of detailed performance analyses of each of the four parts of the cycle. These analyses start from the question of how time is (re)presented in the Proust cycle and focus on the role that audiovisual media play in the dramaturgy of time. In the Proustcycle, both different media – literature, theatre, video - and different times – Proust’s late nineteenth and early twentieth century and Cassiers’ early twenty-first century – meet. I use a comparative approach to investigate these different media, these different historical periods and their temporal perspectives. More specifically I use the Proustcycle to trace a specific conception of time that is characterized by simultaneity, contingency, and subjectivity rather than linearity, progress, causality, and measurability.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Uricchio, William, Primary supervisor
  • Kattenbelt, Chiel, Co-supervisor
Award date12 Jun 2009
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2009

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