Living Circles: Jewish Philosophy and Performance

“Living Circles: Jewish Philosophy and Performance”

Moderator: Shelly Scott

This panel focuses specifically on the intersections of circles and Jewish
philosophy in and through the performance event. Using the structure and style of Jewish biblical text, commentaries, and legislature as entry points, our panelists reflect on the application of Jewish philosophy and frameworks as a productive analytical tool for performance and analysis. Jewish spiritualties are inextricably defined and shaped by circles.

We dance in them. We write in them. Jewish literature is physically structured with a narrative centralized on the page, literally encircled by commentaries and dialogue about the text. It is also studied in circles: spatially, as it is typically studied in groups rather than lecture halls, and methodologically, as it is measured by units of seven-year cycles. What might this spiritual and religious lens offer us pedagogically and theatrically in performance and education? How might this textual format offer structures of resistance and reflection? What do circles tell us about conceptions of time and space on stage and in everyday life? Alongside other established scholarly frameworks, what does it mean to apply Jewish philosophy as a form and structure to our performance practice and theoretical investigations?

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