Ákos Seress

Ákos SeressE-mail address:  seress.akos@gmail.com
Home institution:
University of Kaposvár
Academic position: assistant professor
Areas of research:  American drama, Theatre Studies
Title of the presentation: The Cognitive turn in Theatre Studies


Most important Publications

  • Amerikai Tragédiák ? Szerep, személyiség, kirekesztés Tennessee Williams drámáiban [American Tragedies ? subjectivity, role and exclusion in the plays of Tennessee Williams] Theatron-Artis Stúdió 2012
  • Dionüszosz és Apollón Amerikában (Eugene O?Neill: Amerikai Elektra)[Mourning becomes Dionysos  and Apollon] Alföld, 2010. június
  • A személyiség maszk(jai)- szerep és személyiség Pirandello és Brecht műveiben [The Masks of Self ? Role and Subjectivity in the Plays of Pirandello and Brecht.] Alföld, 2009. augusztus

Title of the presentation

The Cognitive turn in Theatre Studies


In my paper I am about to take a closer look at the relationship of cognitive sciences and theatre studies. First of all I would like to examine if it is justified to speak about a ?cognitive turn?  in the research of thetricality. By examining the major works that are being labelled as ?Cognitive Theatre Studies? I would like to show the new methods and theories they have for approaching the theatrical phenomena. I am also going to discuss the relationship these theories have with former studies; to my point of view, the cognitive perspective gives us the chance to synthetize the important results of semiotics, deconstruction, new historicism and first of all: media studies and picture theory. By doing this, theatre studies have an opportunity to make the field of research wider, establishing an interdiscursive relationship with film- and cultural studies.

One of the most disturbing problems of theatre studies is that despite the uncountable efforts, no sufficient explanation have been found to define what theatre is. As I would like to show by using the means of cognitive studies, theatre researchers had an opportunity to examine this problem from another aspect. According to them the real question is not what theatre is but rather what happens to the audience while perceving a theatrical event, or what processes of the mind make us be able to endulge within a fictional scene? Certain researches try to use neurobiologycal answers, but these ? to my point of view ? have not been able to achive a real breakthrough. I would rather like to focus on studies that were developed from cognitive linguistics, and try to define theatricality by using Giles Fauconnier?s theory on conceptual blending. This theory not only gives us a good explanation about theatre, but it also opens up the opportunity to examine a certain hibridity of the theatrical medium: productions and dramatic texts that are blending film, theatre and radio.

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