LSE Festival’s art(sy) moment

This year the LSE Festival will run from the 25th of February to the 2nd of March. The theme, New World (Dis)orders, is meant to tackle the questions “how did we get here, what are the challenges, and most importantly how can we tackle them”. The only event in the LSE festival to feature the arts was an annual collab of the LSE Language Centre in conjunction with the Drama Soc. ‘The New World Gives the Orders’ took place in the Shaw Library on Thursday the 28th of February and ran from 7:30 to 9:30 PM.

This year, two plays were presented, sandwiched around a panel discussion. The first of which was a production of Harold Pinter’s New World Order. Two men commanded the stage alluding to various forms of violence that will ensue for a bound and bagged third man on stage. At the end of the play it is revealed to be all in the name of democracy.

The panel discussion featured Masha Kapr, a freelance journalist with a special interest in the relationship between Russia and the West who has just finished a biography of George Orwell; and Dr Kai Spiekermann, an associate professor in the LSE department of Government, who also just finished a book called An Epistemic Theory of Democracy. Their conversation focused on the existence of new world order, post-Cold War Russia, Orwell’s predictions, as well as a discussion into the future of liberal democracy.

The evening ended with a longer, second play, written by ex-LSE student Scott Hunter, whose play “Convenience” won an award while he was studying at the LSE. Two salesmen take up shop in a man’s living room, with the intent of selling him a product sure to be most convenient. “A witty and thought-provoking reflection on the new order of the media-driven virtual world.”

The LSE Festival is meant to be an exploration of how social sciences can tackle global issues and with our motto of ‘finding the causes of things’ is very fitting. However, the language centre agrees that the LSE can and should do more to expand the types and formats of events that it holds. Having only one event that incorporates the arts just does not seem to be enough.

Students attending the events spoke of how much they enjoyed the evening. “The night was very interesting, both the performances and the discussion were interesting and unique,” one said. Another said, “The format of play, discussion, play worked really nicely. The first play made me curious to hear more about the ‘new world disorder’ and the final play was entertaining and tied the event together.” When asked about the event being the only one to incorporate the arts they said, “[there] should be more as it makes it less daunting for people who may be put off my the purely academic or serious discussions”.

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