Costumes have always been an integral part of theater, which makes an exploration in this field indispensable in the realization of Alexandre Singh’s play The Humans. In the third of this series of Causeries, experts from different disciplines are invited to discuss the origins and evolution of theatrical costumes from a variety of traditions and periods – ranging from Shakespeare, Commedia dell’Arte and the Japanese tradition of Kabuki Theater.

Participants include:
Amy Kenny, Research Coordinator, Globe Theatre, London
Valeria de Lucca, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow Music, University of Southampton
Alan Cummings, Senior Teaching Fellow In Japanese, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Upcoming Causeries

16 August 2012 – Theatrical Costumes;
13 September 2012 – Aristophanes;
11 October 2012 – The Mountain in Art and Literature;
15 November 2012 – Literary Satire: on Pope, Lucian, and Wodehouse;
19 January 2013 – The Voice and The Chorus;
16 February 2013 – Woody Allen;
16 March 2013 – Scatology;
13 April 2013 – The Sculptor.


The Creation: On Cosmogony and Cosmology
Saturday 2 June 2012
Participants: Jessica Frazier (Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Kent), Andrew Jaffe (Professor Astrophysics at the Imperial College London), Bernadette Leclercq-Neveu (Professor in the Classics Department at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris), Bénédicte Lemmelijn (Professor Theology, Catholic University of Leuven), Alexander Verpoorte (Professor in the Faculty of Archeology at the University of Leiden), Francis Wolff (Professor in Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris)

Pictorial Satire: On Hogarth, Daumier and South Park
Thursday 12 July 2012
Participants: Brian Dunphy (Professor Radio & Television, Brooklyn College, NY), Pascal Dupuy (Professor Early Modern History, University of Rouen) and Martin Myrone (Lead Curator Pre-1800 British Art at Tate Britain)

About the Causeries

As part of the realization of Alexandre Singh’s ambitious play The Humans, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art presents the Causeries. Taking its title from the French verb causer – to converse or chat – the Causeries are set up as a series of discussions in which Singh expands on The Humans’ key themes, ranging from cosmology and cosmogony to pictorial satire, dance, drama and religion. Rather than discursive events in the well-known format of a conference or a symposium, the Causeries are conceived as informal conversations between the artist and an expert in a given field. It is not only the edification of the artist himself that is pivotal in this alternative kind of exchange, also the audience is offered an insight in the underlying themes of The Humans. The monthly Causeries are conceived by Alexandre Singh and Defne Ayas, and are organized in consultation with critic and writer Donatien Grau.

About The Humans

The Humans – with “creation” as its central theme – is an ambitious play that will evolve and change over a six-month period. Set before the creation of the Earth in a proto-world populated by spirits, gods, artisans and men of clay and plaster, The Humans is modeled after the ancient Greek plays of Aristophanes. Whilst the theatrical references are ancient, the satire is utterly modern: religion, morality and human hubris are all mocked with an irreverent and biting tone.

Leading up to the final live presentation of his play, Singh will transform Witte de With’s second floor into a space; part artist’s studio, part script-room and display area; where visitors will be able to follow the development of the play. This on-site realization of the artwork allows the audience to gain a unique insight into the inner dynamics of artistic creation.

—Supported by

Institut Francais