This book examines how new performance practices from the 1990s to the present day have been driven by questions of the real and the ensuing political implications of the concept's rapidly disintegrating authority. The first part of the book addresses the existing poststructuralist narrative of radicalism that currently dominates contemporary performance theory, and seeks to deconstruct its conclusions. It first traces the artistic and philosophical developments that laid the ground for the sustained twentieth-century interrogations of theatrical representations of the real. It examines the emergence of the discursive act which aligned the narrative of radicalism exclusively with such interrogations. The book also examines how key strands of Derrida's poststructuralist critique have been applied to performance practice to strengthen the ideological binary opposition between 'dramatic' representations of the real and 'postdramatic' deconstructions of representational practice. The second part of the book embarks on an ideological examination of a wide spectrum of performance models that share an engagement with the problematics of representation and the real. It directs this investigation specifically towards an analysis of the representations of 'real' people in performances which adopt verbatim methodologies drawn from the documentary theatre tradition. The book continues to explore performance environments that break down the dichotomy of performer/spectator and seeks to replace mediated representations with experiential realities.
of the representations of ‘real’ people in performances which adopt
verbatim methodologies drawn from the documentarytheatretradition.
Looking at performances that include Recorded Delivery’s The Girlfriend
Experience, National Theatre of Scotland’s Aalst and Paper Birds’ Others,
I analyse the frameworks created by diverse strategies of representation,
and examine the ideological implications of the aesthetic constructions
of ‘the real’ people who are the source material of the work. From this
perspective, the chapter explores the seemingly paradoxical rise of
to European documentarytheatretraditions as they have developed
primarily in Germany and the UK since the interwar period. German
directors Erwin Piscator and Bertolt Brecht in the 1920s, as well as Peter
Weiss and Heinard Kipphardt in the 1960s, made invaluable contributions
to the development of documentary theatre forms. Their works laid the
foundation for further innovation in the genre by British artists Alecky
Blythe, Peter Cheeseman, David Hare, Nicolas Kent, Richard Norton
Taylor, Robin Soans, and others in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s.