Over the past fifty years transformations of great moment have taken place in South Africa. Apartheid and the subsequent transition to a democratic, non-racial society in particular have exercised a profound effect on the practice of literature.
This study traces the development of literature under apartheid, then seeks to identify the ways in which writers and theatre practitioners are now facing the challenges of a new social order.
The main focus is on the work of black writers, prime among them Matsemela Manaka, Mtutuzeli Matshoba and Richard Rive, who, as politically committed members of the oppressed majority, bore witness to the “black experience” through their writing. Despite the draconian censorship system they were able to address the social problems caused by racial discrimination in all areas of life, particularly through forced removals, the migrant labour system, and the creation of the homelands. Their writing may be read both as a comprehensive record of everyday life under apartheid and as an alternative cultural history of South Africa.
Particular attention is paid to theatre as a barometer of social change in South Africa.
The concluding chapters consider how in the current period of transition writers and arts institutions have set about reassessing their priorities, redefining their function and seeking new aesthetic directions in taking up the challenge of imagining a new society.
Marguerite Duras. Un théâtre de voix / A Theatre of Voices propose une relecture originale du théâtre de Marguerite Duras dans sa dimension à la fois textuelle et scénique. Les articles ici réunis sont écrits par plusieurs des meilleurs spécialistes du théâtre français ou par des praticiens de la scène. Ils témoignent des dernières avancées de la recherche, particulièrement dans les domaines de la voix et du son. Les auteurs démontrent, par des analyses précises et approfondies d’un large éventail des pièces de Duras, que ses innovations scéniques ont eu un impact radical sur le développement de la forme théâtrale. L'ouvrage offre également la lecture d'un entretien inédit en français de Duras sur son théâtre en 1985. Ce livre est donc une ressource indispensable pour les étudiants de la littérature française, ainsi que pour les étudiants du théâtre contemporain.
Marguerite Duras. Un théâtre de voix / A Theatre of Voices presents a radical reappraisal of the plays of Marguerite Duras. The essays are written by some of the leading scholars in French theatre studies today. A number of the approaches, particularly in the areas of voice and the auditory, are at the cutting-edge of contemporary performance research. The authors demonstrate, by precise and detailed analysis of the full range of her plays, that Duras was a trailblazer, and that the startling ways in which she manipulated the languages of the stage have shaped the development of the form. The book is a therefore a vital resource for students of French literature and culture, and for students of contemporary theatre.
Marie Vieux Chauvet’s Theatres: Thought, Form, and Performance of Revolt at once reflects and acts upon the praxis of theatre that inspired Haitian writer Marie Vieux Chauvet, while at the same time provides incisively new cultural studies readings about revolt in her theatre and prose. Chauvet – like many free-minded women of the Caribbean and the African diaspora – was banned from the public sphere, leaving her work largely ignored for decades. Following on a renewed interest in Chauvet, this collection makes essential contributions to Africana Studies, Theatre Studies, Performance Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and Global South Feminisms.
Contributors are: Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken, Stéphanie Bérard, Christian Flaugh, Gabrielle Gallo, Jeremy Matthew Glick, Kaiama L. Glover, Régine Michelle Jean-Charles, Cae Joseph-Massena, Nehanda Loiseau, Judith G. Miller, Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Anthony Phelps, Ioana Pribiag, Charlee M. Redman Bezilla, Guy Régis Jr, and Lena Taub Robles.
This collection is a beautiful gathering of voices exploring Chauvet’s theatrical work, along with the role of theatre in her novels. The richly textured and evocatively written essays offer many new and necessary insights into the work of one of Haiti’s greatest writers. — Laurent Dubois, Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History, Duke University. Author of
Haiti: The Aftershocks of History
This collection draws necessary critical attention to how theatre and performance animate the work of a key figure in Caribbean fiction and drama. Using an innovative scholarly and artistic approach, the collection incorporates leading and new voices in Haitian studies and Francophone studies on Chauvet’s depictions of revolt. — Soyica Diggs Colbert, Professor of African American Studies and Theater & Performance Studies, Georgetown University. Author of
Black Movements: Performance and Cultural Politics
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.
Despite the many studies of Greek comedy and tragedy separately, scholarship has generally neglected the relation of the two. And yet the genres developed together, were performed together, and influenced each other to the extent of becoming polar opposites. In
Aristophanes and His Tragic Muse, Stephanie Nelson considers this opposition through an analysis of how the genres developed, by looking at the tragic and comic elements in satyr drama, and by contrasting specific Aristophanes plays with tragedies on similar themes, such as the individual, the polis, and the gods. The study reveals that tragedy’s focus on necessity and a quest for meaning complements a neglected but critical element in Athenian comedy: its interest in freedom, and the ambivalence of its incompatible visions of reality.
The relationship between Johannesburg’s Market Theatre and the economic and political forces of South Africa's apartheid regime was both complex and somewhat ambiguous. The theatre's two founders, Mannie Manim and Barney Simon, however, from idealistic beginnings managed to steer their experimental enterprise around pitfalls ranging from censorship, boycotts and recuperation by big business to the difficulties encountered in finding black authors, let alone black audiences.
If the place occupied by the Market institution in apartheid society is emphasized throughout the present study, its contribution to the aesthetic of resistance is also underlined through detailed criticism of the plays and authors dominating the theatre. Pieter-Dirk Uys, Barney Simon's workshop plays and, among others, Black Consciousness plays are subjected to various methods of theatre performance analysis. The reckoning that had to come in the early 1990s revealed itself as globally positive; the reasons for this may be found in the updated concluding part of
Playing the Market, which is composed of more general essays (including one on the vibrant Junction Avenue Theatre Company) on how the theatre scene in contemporary South Africa started to change. A postscript reveals more specific aspects of the Market situation in the late 1990s when its hegemony in the New South Africa was already being questioned.
“It’s all rather confusing, really” was one of the catchphrases used by Spike Milligan in his ground-breaking radio comedy program The Goon Show. In a series of mock-epics broadcast over the course of a decade, Milligan treated listeners to a cosmology governed by confusion, contradictions, fluidity and uncertainty. In
The Goon Show’s universe, time and space expand and contract seemingly at will and without notice.
The worldview featured in
The Goon Show looked both backward and forward: backward, in the sense that it paralleled strategies used by schoolchildren to understand time and space; forward, in the ways it anticipated and prefigured a number of key features of postmodern thought.
Winner of the Ann Saddlemyer Award 2017 of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research.