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Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Postdramatic theatre and the political
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Postdramatic theatre and the political: international perspectives on contemporary performance

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsAnthology

Published

Publication date19/12/2013
Place of publicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Methuen Drama
Number of pages324
ISBN (Print)9781408185704
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameMethuen Drama Engage
PublisherBloomsbury

Abstract

Is postdramatic theare political and if so how? How does it relate to Brecht's ideas of political theatre, for example? How can we account for the relationship between aestetics and politics in new forms of theatre, playwriting, and performance?
The 11 chapters by 13 contributors in this book discuss crucial aspects of the issues raised by the postdramatic turn in theatre in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century: the status of the audience and modes of spectatorship in postdramatic theatre; the political claims of postdramatic theatre; postdramatic theatre's ongoing relationship with the dramatic tradition; its dialectical qualities, or its eschewing of the dialectic; questions of representation and the real in theatre; the role of bodies, perception, appearance and theatricality in postdramatic theatre; as well as subjectivity and agency in postdramatic theatre, dance and performance.
Offering analyses of a wide range of internationa performance examples, scholars in this volume engage with Hans-Thies Lehmann's theoretical positions, relating them to other approaches by thinkers ranging from earlier theorists such as Brecht, Adorno and Benjamin, to contemporary thinkers such as Fischer-Lichte, Rancière and others.

Bibliographic note

The co-written introduction (pp. 1-30) surveys the state of research in the field and analyses the ways in which postdramatic theatre’s politics differ from those of traditional ‘political theatre’. My own chapter contribution, 'Parasitic Politics: Elfriede Jelinek's "Secondary Dramas" and their staging' (pp. 209-231), explores the politics of Elfriede Jelinek’s innovative new ‘secondary dramas’, texts designed to be performed alongside canonical dramas such as Goethe’s Faust or Lessing’s Nathan der Weise and disrupt them in performance. It engages with Lehmann’s conception of the political as a disruption of political consensus and applies it to the relationship between the ‘no longer dramatic’ text and the dramatic tradition. With reference to Michel Serres and Jelinek’s own theoretical writing, her strategy is read as a form of deliberately ‘parasitic politics’ where the secondary drama simultaneously feeds off the classical drama and contemporary reality, in order to disrupt consensual views and make marginalised voices heard.

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