Willmar Sauter’s research projects

Premodernity as a concept of the not-yet-modern: A Slow Train Coming

Although modernity was not yet an issue during the late enlightenment of the 18th century, today’s view is undoubtedly contaminated by modernity’s ideas as manifest in in the 20th century. Therefore it is mandatory to investigate the similarities and differences between the mentalities and practices that are divided by a gap of a quarter millennium. The problem is to find a theoretical model that is capable of demonstrating the changes between the aristocracy of the late18th century and the bourgeois modernity more than 100 years later. How can these changes in society, politics, aesthetics and practices be demonstrated, what categories are relevant and how do these affect the “melting of horizons” (H.-G. Gadamer) between Then and Now?

Analyses of performance in historical theatres

Historically preserved theatre spaces are continuously used for contemporary performances – with or without regard to the historicity of the aesthetics of these venues. Among the historical sites can be mentioned first of all the Drottningholm Theatre as well as Confidensen at Ulriksdal, Gripsholm Theatre and the performance spaces at Vadstena in Sweden, but also comparable theatres in Cesky Krumlov, Versailles, the Court Theatre at Copenhagen, Bayreuth, etc. The analyses concern performances seen live in these locations as well as recorded documentations. The basic questions of these analyses are the choice of repertoire, the productions’ relations to ‘historically informed performances’, the staging practices, and the endeavour to renew or preserve stylistic features of the past. These analyses of these performances suggest continuous confrontations with the basic questions of the project, however from the perspective of the spectator/researcher rather than from the artistic production point of view. This analytical approach continues the positions envisaged in the book “The Theatre of Drottningholm – Then and Now. Performance between the 18th and 21st centuries (2014, with David Wiles). For more information see here.