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.
Most of the essays in
Ritual Remembering: History, Myth and Politics in Anglo-Irish Drama, in part or in whole, frequently allude or directly concern themselves with the dramatic representation of the opposition or the collusion of myth and history, and the uses and abuses of both. Equally they celebrate and critically analyse the politics of the social conscience and social consciousness which pervades Irish drama in its rituals of forgetfulness and memory. Perhaps myth is above all to be understood as the conscience and consciousness of history; and politics is the projection of that myth into present social action - on the hustings (nowadays more frequently the television hustings), at the ballot box, in writing and on the stage. Most of the articles in this volume revolve around these gravely portentous and ambivalent themes, which nobody who is as much concerned with Anglo-Irish relations as with Anglo-Irish literature can disregard or evade.