Interculturalism, Humanitarianism, Intervention: Théâtre du Soleil in Kabul

  • Emine Fişek
Part of the Contemporary Performance InterActions book series (CPI)


Where interculturalism in European theater and performance is concerned, the Théâter du Soleil occupies a central position. Indeed, hit productions like the Kabuki-inspired Les Shakespeares (1981–1984) and the Kathakali Les Atrides (1990–1992) cycles were central to “the interculture wars” of the 1980s. This chapter focuses on a smaller scale Théâter du Soleil product, the documentary Un Soleil à Kaboul… ou plutôt deux (A sun in Kabul… or rather, two) (2007), which chronicles an intercultural theater workshop that the company held in Kabul, the war-torn Afghani capital, in 2005. In focusing on Un Soleil à Kaboul, I consider whether the rubrics that often animate scholarship on intercultural theater—such as the issues of cultural appropriation, imperialist exoticism, or artistic negotiation—suffice when faced with intercultural projects whose organizing principles and moral configurations exceed theater aesthetics. Un Soleil à Kaboul, I argue, positions intercultural theater practice as a form of humanitarian intervention. It thus illustrates moral configurations that are borrowed from the world of French humanitarianism, even as it posits intercultural theater as the groundwork through which humanitarianism can express a moral truth. The documentary thus pushes us to link the complexities of intercultural theater to the cultural dimensions of international politics.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emine Fişek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Western Languages and LiteraturesBoğaziçi UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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