Cicilie Fagerlid: The Stage is all the World, and the Players are mere Men and Women
Performance Poetry in Postcolonial Paris
This thesis is about the organisation of a space of equality and conviviality where people come in order to express themselves and to listen to others.
In slam, as the title says, the stage is the entire world and all the players merely men and women. This is a paraphrase of a famous quote from William Shakespeare’s drama As You Like It: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
Instead of seeing the world as a stage and life as a play, I suggest that the phenomenon of Parisian slam turns Shakespeare’s dictum on its head and brings real life up on stage. Moreover, in various ways slam blurs the boundary between performer and audience, bringing to a large degree the audience too up on stage. The audience in this case usually implies a little bit of “all the world”.
Likewise, instead of saying as Shakespeare did, that men and women are just filling preset roles of pre-set stages of human existence, I suggest that Parisian slam poetry seeks to bring the life of the singular individual into the limelight and let each speak for himself or herself, in his or her own singular language. Thus, The stage is all the world, and the players are mere men and women is an attempt to write from postcolonial Paris, where a multitude of voices can be heard.
Download the thesis (pdf, 1,8 MB)
Interview about the thesis (Norwegian)