Newly adapted for the Anglophone reader, this is an excellent translation of Hans-Thies Lehmann’s groundbreaking study of the new theatre forms that have developed since the late 1960s, which has become a key reference point in international discussions of contemporary theatre. In looking at the developments since the late 1960s, Lehmann considers them in relation to dramatic theory and theatre history, as an inventive response to the emergence of new technologies, and as an historical shift from a text-based culture to a new media age of image and sound. Engaging with theoreticians of 'drama' from Aristotle and Brecht, to Barthes and Schechner, the book analyzes the work of recent experimental theatre practitioners such as Robert Wilson, Tadeusz Kantor, Heiner Müller, the Wooster Group, Needcompany and Societas Raffaello Sanzio. Illustrated by a wealth of practical examples, and with an introduction by Karen Jürs-Munby providing useful theoretical and artistic contexts for the book, Postdramatic Theatre is an historical survey expertly combined with a unique theoretical approach which guides the reader through this new theatre landscape.
Is postdramatic theatre 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 aesthetics and politics in new forms of theatre, playwriting, and performance? The chapters 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 international performance examples, scholars in this volume engage with Hans-Thies Lehmann's theoretical positions both affirmatively and critically, relating them to other approaches by thinkers ranging from early theorists such as Brecht, Adorno and Benjamin, to contemporary thinkers such as Fischer-Lichte, RanciÃ¨re and others
In a room in the middle of nowhere, a man and a woman dream up spectacular worlds: a decaying city, a lush and crumbling garden, a train journey across a drowned landscape. Darkly humorous, absurd and surreal, these are plays for a theatre in which time and space, character and setting are as uncertain as the maps this man and this woman draw. A co-founder of the legendary 1980s performance theatre company Impact Theatre Co-op, Claire MacDonald composed Utopia, a sequence of commissioned playtexts, between 1987 and 2008. This edition brings together both the plays and the story of how the plays came to be made and written. With a compelling introduction by the author, and including additional material by Tim Etchells, Deirdre Heddon, and Lenora Champagne, this book provides a range of historical and critical materials that put the plays in the context of MacDonald’s career as writer and collaborator, and show how visual practices and poetics, theories of real and imagined space, and new approaches to language itself have profoundly shaped the development of performance writing in the UK.
Sound is born and dies with action. In this surprising, resourceful study, Mladen Ovadija makes a case for the centrality of sound as an integral element of contemporary theatre. He argues that sound in theatre inevitably "betrays" the dramatic text, and that sound is performance. Until recently, theatrical sound has largely been regarded as supplemental to the dramatic plot. Now, however, sound is the subject of renewed interest in theatrical discourse. Dramaturgy of sound, Ovadija argues, reads and writes a theatrical idiom based on two inseparable, intertwined strands - the gestural, corporeal power of the performer's voice and the structural value of stage sound. His extensive research in experimental performance and his examination of the pioneering work by Futurists, Dadaists, and Expressionists enable Ovadija to create a powerful study of autonomous sound as an essential element in the creation of synesthetic theatre. Dramaturgy of Sound in the Avant-garde and Postdramatic Theatre presents a cogent argument about a continuous tradition in experimental theatre running from early modernist to contemporary works.
Postdramatic theatre is an essential category of performance that challenges classical elements of drama, including the centrality of plot and character. As conversations about postdramatic theatre have proliferated, however, so too have the term's meanings and the practices it is presumed to describe. This collection redirects ongoing debates about postdramatic theatre, turning attention to the foundational and overlooked issue on which they hinge: form. Tracking key developments in contemporary European and North American performance, Postdramatic Theatre and Form shakes off common understandings of form as mere ornamentation or as something that cuts an artwork off from society. Instead, this book proposes an avowedly social definition of form. Contributors draw on literary studies, film studies and critical theory to reimagine the formal aspects of theatre, such as space, media and text. In addition, the volume expands how we think of theatrical form in order to study the modes of production and consumption that give shape to and are shaped by theatre. Chapters focus on a range of interdisciplinary artists from Tadeusz Kantor to Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, as well as theatre's enmeshment within institutional formations like funding bodies, festivals, and real estate. A timely investigation of the aesthetic structures and material conditions of contemporary performance, this collection refines what we mean, and what we don't, when we speak of postdramatic theatre.
Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000, Gao Xingjian is the first Chinese writer to be so lauded for his prose and plays. Since relocating to France in 1987, in a voluntary exile from China, he has assembled a body of dramatic work that has best been understood neither as expressly Chinese nor French, but as transnational. In this comprehensive study of his post-exile plays, Mary Mazzilli explores Gao's plays as examples of postdramatic transnationalism: a transnational artistic and theatrical trend that is fluid, flexible and full of variety of styles and influences. As such this innovative interdisciplinary investigation offers fresh insights on contemporary theatre. Whereas other publications have considered Gao's work as a cultural and artistic phenomenon, Gao Xingjian's Post-Exile Plays: Transnationalism and Postdramatic Theatre is the first study to relate his plays to postdramatic theatre and to provide close textual and dramatic analysis that will help readers to better understand his complex work, and also to see it in the context of the work of contemporary playwrights such as Martin Crimp, Peter Handke, and Elfriede Jelinek. Among the plays discussed are: The Other Shore, written just before he left China in 1987; Between Life and Death (1991) - compared in detail to Martin Crimp's Attempts on her life; Dialogue and Rebuttal (1992), and its relationship to Beckett's Happy Days; Nocturnal Wanderer (1993), Weekend Quartet (1995), and the latest plays Snow in August (1997), Death Collector (2000) and Ballade Nocturne (2010).
This book explores the concept and vocabulary of postdramatic theatre from a pedagogical perspective. It identifies some of the major anxieties and paradoxes generated by teaching postdramatic theatre through practice, with reference to the aesthetic, cultural and institutional pressures that shape teaching practices. It also presents a series of case studies that identify the pedagogical fault lines that expose the power-relations inherent in teaching (with a focus on the higher education sector as opposed to actor training institutions). It uses auto-ethnography, performance analysis and critical theory to assist university teachers involved in directing theatre productions to deepen their understanding of the concept of postdramatic theatre.
Transfigured Stages: Major Practitioners and Theatre Aesthetics in Australia captures the excitement of a key period in the emergence of postdramatic theatre in Australia in the 1980s and 1990s. It is the first book to discuss work by The Sydney Front (1986 - 1993) and Open City (1987 - ), and engages contemporary cultural and aesthetic theory to analyse performances by these artists, as well as theatre productions by Jenny Kemp and others. These performance practitioners are considered as part of an international paradigm attesting to forms of theatre that no longer operate according to the established principles of drama. This book also highlights the complexity of Indigrenous theatre through its analysis of the Mudrooroo-Müller project staged in 1996."--Publisher.
Despite its international influence, Polish theatre remains a mystery to many Westerners. This volume attempts to fill in current gaps in English-language scholarship by offering a historical and critical analysis of two of the most influential works of Polish theatre: Jerzy Grotowski’s ‘Akropolis’ and Tadeusz Kantor’s ‘Dead Class’. By examining each director’s representation of Auschwitz, this study provides a new understanding of how translating national trauma through the prism of performance can alter and deflect the meaning and reception of theatrical works, both inside and outside of their cultural and historical contexts.
'An invaluable book that we shall all be using for a long time to come' - Michael Billington Contemporary European Theatre Directors is an ambitious and unprecedented overview of many of the key directors working in European theatre over the past fifty years. It is a vivid account of the vast range of work undertaken in European theatre during this period, situated lucidly in its artistic, cultural and political context. The resulting study is a detailed guide to the generation of directors whose careers were forged and tempered in the changing Europe of the 1980s and 1990s. The featured directors are: Calixto Bieito, Piotr Borowski, Romeo Castellucci, Frank Castorf, Patrice Chéreau, Lev Dodin, Declan Donnellan, Kristian Frédric, Rodrigo García, Jan Lauwers, Christoph Marthaler, Simon McBurney, Daniel Mesguich, Katie Mitchell, Ariane Mnouchkine, Thomas Ostermeier, Patrice Pavis, Silviu Purcărete and Peter Sellars. Travelling from London and Craiova to St. Petersburg and Madrid, the book examines directors working with classics, new writing, and new collaborative theatre forms. Each chapter is written by a specialist in European theatre and provides a detail critique of production styles. The directors themselves provide contributions and interviews to this multi-authored work, which unites the many and varied voices of European theatre in one coherent volume.
The contributors examine varied topics such as the analysis of periodicity; the articulation of social, political, and cultural production in theatre; the re-evaluation of texts, performances, and canons; and demonstrations of how interdisciplinarity inflects theatre and its practice.
This comprehensive, authoritative account of tragedy is the culmination of Hans-Thies Lehmann’s groundbreaking contributions to theatre and performance scholarship. It is a major milestone in our understanding of this core foundation of the dramatic arts. From the philosophical roots and theories of tragedy, through its inextricable relationship with drama, to its impact upon post-dramatic forms, this is the definitive work in its field. Lehmann plots a course through the history of dramatic thought, taking in Aristotle, Plato, Seneca, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Lacan, Shakespeare, Schiller, Holderlin, Wagner, Maeterlinck, Yeats, Brecht, Kantor, Heiner Müller and Sarah Kane.
This book examines experimental Irish theatre that ran counter to the naturalistic 'peasant' drama synonymous with Irish playwriting. Focusing on four marginalised playwrights after Yeats, it charts a tradition linking the experimentation of the early Irish theatre movement with the innovation of contemporary Irish and international drama.