City Performances within Confidence Games

14 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2020

Date Written: October 26, 2012


Theatre companies may, if they consider the performances of the city at all, regard them as lacking animation, vitality, and spiritedness, and feel they should enhance them with imagination, expertise, and refinement, bringing comedy, drama, and beauty to the city. But this would amount to value judgments not necessarily shared by the people living in the city. City-dwellers may even judge a market, a schoolyard, or a protest demonstration to be much more interesting in terms of motives, purposes, procedures, addresses, and cunning than any theatre performance. Theatre companies may also come to believe that cities' performances are somehow dishonest and deceitful because some actor or institution plays to its public and thus misleads them in certain ways. The theatre would then be the place to stage criticism of dishonesty and deceit, the place where sincere opinions and real feelings prevail. But then, how would the theatre judge its own need to gain the attention of an audience in the first place? Does it not have to play tricks as well, doing professionally in the midst of the city what other actors and institutions are still trying not only to master but also to figure out?

Keywords: confidence game, city, performance, theatre

Suggested Citation

Baecker, Dirk, City Performances within Confidence Games (October 26, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Dirk Baecker (Contact Author)

Witten/Herdecke University ( email )



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