Conference Proposal

Seven Against Thebes Conference Proposal

Here’s another conference proposal. It’s on Aeschylus little known play Seven Against Thebes. It’d be a good idea to keep a record of the proposals and organizers’ reactions to get an idea of their selection criteria. I’ve been trying to do a couple of things in these proposals. First: tailor the presentation to the theme of the conference. That means custom tailoring each proposal. Second: be realistic how much a 20 minute talk can cover. 20 minutes goes by like nothing. It’s good to narrow down the topic to a laser focus. Third: present the proposal in such a way that I’m offering the audience something useful. I have to make it so that it’s worth their time to come see the presentation.

A word to other conferencers out there: if you can’t expense travel to your university, consider applying for a credit card with travel perks. I applied for a TD Bank Aeroplan Visa Infinite card. By the time you read this, there may be other deals out there. The Aeroplan Visa Infinite came with a one year fee waiver and a free short haul flight in North America. Amenities include trip cancellation and medical insurance. Not a bad deal!

Here is the proposal for your review, assiduous readers:

To the Organizers of the 2017 xxx:

My name is Edwin Wong and I’d like to present about tragedy in an age of risk. I approach tragedy from a Classics background in ancient theatre (MA, Brown University). The idea of risk theatre is an exciting new conceptual framework of tragedy. Here is my proposal for your consideration.

Risk Theatre: Tragedy in Today’s Age of Risk

Like Metatheatre and Epic Theatre, Risk Theatre is a theory of drama. It is a new theory of tragedy for today’s age, an age filled with extraordinary and calculated risks, an age of Fukushima, bioengineering, and leveraged assets. It is an age of both super drugs and superbugs. Risk is ubiquitous and risk theatre presents theatregoers with a new critical tool.

Risk theatre posits that each dramatic act in tragedy is also a gambling act. In each tragedy, the protagonist makes a wager. In Seven against Thebes, Eteocles wagers that, by interpreting the scout’s report, he can save the city and avoid the worst case scenario: encountering his brother and shedding kindred blood. With seven besiegers, seven defenders, and seven gates, the odds are with him.

But Eteocles ends up, against all odds, confronting his brother. Seven, in this way, is a lesson in risk management. The play speaks out to the dangers of calculated risks and is a reminder to today’s masters of the universe who, in the name of progress, gamble with the fate of the world. Just as in theatre, in life more things can happen than what we expect will happen. By looking at tragedy as a gambling act, risk theatre offers a new theoretical framework to approach tragedy.

Thank you for considering my proposal. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,

Edwin Wong.

Until next time, I’m Edwin Wong and now I’m Doing Melpomene’s Work by going on the road.

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