Someone Called Derrida at the Sheldonian - Monday 1 June, 7pm
Oxford’s iconic Sheldonian Theatre, which once hosted a famous interview with the controversial philosopher Jacques Derrida, is the setting for a performance of an acclaimed play exploring Derrida’s vexed and haunted relationship to Oxford.
Derrida spoke to a packed audience at the Sheldonian in February 1992.* Just a month later, in Cambridge, a number of dons famously opposed his nomination for the award of an honorary doctorate.
Over 20 years later, the Sheldonian will host a performance of ‘Last Train to Oxford’, which is based on a novel by John Schad, Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Lancaster.
Like the novel, the play explores the complications, ambiguities and ghostly pre-histories that haunted the charismatic French-born philosopher’s relationship with the philosophical establishment at Oxford in the 1960s.
Co-written with Fred Dalmasso, the work will be performed at The Sheldonian on Monday June 1.
Professor Schad explained: “We’re delighted that the performance is taking place in such an iconic setting and one that has such strong connections with Derrida. His interview at the Sheldonian in 1992 was sponsored by Amnesty International at a time when Derrida was accused of challenging the very notion of the human subject, and thus of human rights. So it is wonderful to be able to return Derrida, as it were, to both the Sheldonian and the scene of controversy.”
“The play is based on my book, Someone Called Derrida, which is a novelistic combination of memoir, philosophy, investigative history, detective fiction and Oxford. The story begins with someone calling Derrida on the phone, someone he thought was dead. It investigates, not just the Oxford of the 1960s but also of the 1930s, as well as espionage, exile from middle Europe, and an English public school in the middle of the Second World War.”
Curtain goes up for ‘The Last Train to Oxford’ at 7pm and tickets for the performance can be bought at http://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/ticketsoxford/index.aspx#event=19882.
They are priced £8 or £5 concession. The play is suitable for ages 14 and over.
*For a video of the 1992 Sheldonian interview see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s8SSilNSXw
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