South African Theatre as/and Intervention


One of the most striking features of cultural life in South Africa has been the extent to which one area of cultural practice - theatre - has more than any other testified to the present condition of the country, now in transition between its colonial past and a decolonized future. But in what sense and how far does the critical force of theatre in South Africa as a mode of intervention continue?
In the immediate post-election moment, theatre seemed to be pursuing an escapist, nostalgic route, relieved of its historical burden of protest and opposition. But, as the contributors to this volume show, new voices have been emerging, and a more complex politics of the theatre, involving feminist and gay initiatives, physical theatre, festival theatre and theatre-for-education, has become apparent.
Both new and familiar players in South African theatre studies from around the world here respond to or anticipate the altered conditions of the country, while exploring the notion that theatre continues to 'intervene.' This broad focus enables a wide and stimulating range of approaches: contributors examine strategies of intervention among audiences, theatres, established and fledgling writers, canonical and new texts, traditional and innovative critical perspectives. The book concludes with four recent interviews with influential practitioners about the meaning and future of theatre in South Africa: Athol Fugard, Fatima Dike, Reza de Wet, and Janet Suzman.

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Acknowledgements. List of Plates. Marcia BLUMBERG and Dennis WALDER: Introduction. KEYNOTE ADDRESS. Ian STEADMAN: Race, Nationalism and Theatre Reconsidered. PHYSICAL THEATRE. Yvonne BANNING: Speaking Silences: Images of Cultural Difference and Gender in Fleishman and Reznek's Medea. David ALCOCK: Somatic Emphasis in South African Theatre: Intervention in the Body Politic. EARLY FUGARD. Errol DURBACH: 'No time for apartheid': Dancing Free of the System in Athol Fugard's Boesman and Lena. Robert LEYSHON: Laughing at the Beginning and Listening at the End: Performing Fugard in the Caribbean. VALLEY SONG AND BEYOND. Kristina STANLEY: Fugard's Theatre of Intervention and Reconciliation: Black and White Aesthetics in Valley Song. Toby SILVERMAN ZINMAN: Valley Song: Fugard Plays It Again. Dennis WALDER: Questions from a White Man Who Listens: The Voices of Valley Song. Jeanne COLLERAN: Lessons for A Fair Country. PERFORMING RACE, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY. Anne FUCHS: The Body of Change and the Changing Body in the Plays of Junction Avenue Theatre Company. Marcia BLUMBERG: Revaluing Women's Storytelling in South African Theatre. Michael ARTHUR: Gay Theatres in South Africa: Peter Hayes, Pogiso Mogwere, and Jay Pather. THEATRE IN/AND EDUCATION. Michael CARKLIN: New Challenges for Theatre in a Reformed System of Education in South Africa. Hazel BARNES: Theatre for Reconciliation: Analysis of a Production of Desire in a South African Drama Studies Department. Bernth LINDFORS: The Rise and Fall of Mbongeni Ngema: The AIDS Play. THEATRE FESTIVALS. Annette COMBRINK: 'The arts festival as healing force' (Athol Fugard): The Role of the Two Major Arts Festivals in a Resurgence of South African Drama. Eckhard BREITINGER: A German Presence at the National Arts Festival: Faustus in Africa and The Good Woman of Sharkville. INTERVIEWS. Works Cited. Contributors. Index.