Postdramatic Theatre and the Political: International Perspectives on Contemporary Performance
Book: Postdramatic Theatre and the Political: International Perspectives on Contemporary Performance
Edited by: Karen Jürs-Munby, Jerome Carroll, and Steve Giles, eds
A&C Black, 2013
The book ‘Postdramatic Theatre and the Political’ eidted by Munby, Carroll and Giles attempts rightly addresses the lacuna left by Hans-Thies Lehmann’s seminal study Postdramatic Theatre, which treated questions of politics quite literally as an afterthought, in a brief and unsatisfying epilogue. In the book, the collection of essays emerged from an international conference titled “Postdramatic Theatre as/or Political Theatre: Representation, Mediatisation and Advanced Capitalism’, held at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies in London in September 2011.
Comprising 12 chapters, the book offers an important rejoinder to claims about postdrama’s political apathy. Most of these scholars challenge the notion that political significance in postdramatic theatre is found in the unique aesthetic qualities that set it apart from other theatrical forms. For example, Borowski and Sugiera in the third chapter insists that even the meaning of an individual performance must derive in part from individual history. In chapter twelve, Antje Dietze analyses Christoph Schlingensief ’s re-enactment of the activist practices of the 1960s leftwinger Rudi Dutschke as offering the spectators the chance to actively participate in a communal experience – outside the theatre, and outside the norms of dramatic representation – as well as deliberately confounding easy political messages. While Theron Schmidt argues that postdramatic theatre is political not so much by eschewing representation and embracing the real (for instance in the employment of disabled actors), but precisely by embracing the theatricality of theatre and its play with appearance.
“The point here is not to question the validity or usefulness of the term ‘postdramatic’, which is attested by the resonance it has found in the last ten years or so. Rather it is to acknowledge its potential for illuminating much of the performance work in recent decades….(p.29).”Postdramatic Theatre and the Political- International Perspectives on Contemporary Performance.