The absurd drama of modern death denial

in Death in modern theatre
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This chapter surveys theories of death denial and analyses examples of drama and theatre from the 1950s to the 1970s that expose its potentially damaging effects on the individual and society. Plays and performance pieces discussed are Dino Buzzati’s A Clinical Case (1953), the Open Theater’s Terminal (1969–71) and two plays by Eugène Ionesco, Exit the King (1962) and Amédée (1953). The chapter situates these examples in relation to the ‘death awareness movement’, which began in the 1950s, and advocated for transparency about death and dying. The chapter argues that these pieces offer mordant social commentary by challenging prevailing orthodoxies through the presentation of absurd, theatrically arresting and sometimes morbidly funny scenarios.

Death in modern theatre

Stages of mortality

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