Discourses of resistance
Representation and the real in the twentieth-century avant-gardes
in Acts and apparitions
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This chapter argues that the new performance practices are predominantly categorised by artists and scholars as drawing implicitly, or explicitly, on the avant-gardes of the twentieth century concerning their experimentation with form and their desire to position themselves as radical practice. Historical overview of the avant-gardes focuses on their common and recurring tendency to develop a narrative of radical opposition through challenges to received notions of the real as reflected in the representational strategies of dramatic theatre. There was a shift in strategy from the transgressive politics of the avant-garde to the resistance adopted by the successive performance practices of the postmodern era. This shift did nothing to dislodge the binary opposition that has been sustained between, dramatic theatre and performance that sets out to deconstruct representational practice.

Acts and apparitions

Discourses on the real in performance practice and theory, 1990–2010


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