Theatres of catastrophe after Auschwitz and Hiroshima

in Death in modern theatre
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This chapter sheds light on the shadows cast by the Holocaust, the dropping of the atomic bomb in Japan and the prospect of future nuclear devastation in various ‘theatres of catastrophe’ from the mid-twentieth century to the early twenty-first century, investigating how plays and performance pieces explore conceptions of death relating to these events and to possible futures stemming from them. Examples discussed in this chapter include Samuel Beckett’s Endgame (1957) and Happy Days (1961), Marguerite Duras’s Yes, Maybe (1968), Edward Bond’s The Tin Can People (1984), Józef Szajna’s Replica (1971–88), and Howard Barker’s Found in the Ground (2001). These pieces approach the spectres of the Holocaust and/or death-by-nuclear-attack obliquely, only ever alluding to historical events or evoking them in fantasy.

Death in modern theatre

Stages of mortality

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