Performing History

Performing History : Theatrical Representations of the Past in Contemporary Theatre

4.42 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
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Collective identities grow from a sense of the past, and the theatre very forcefully participates in the ongoing representations of and debates about the past, sometimes by contesting them and sometimes by reinforcing them. In his examination of the ways in which the theatre after World War II has presented different aspects of the French Revolution and the Holocaust, Freddie Rokem shows us that by ""performing history"" actors - as witnesses for the departed witnesses - bring the historical past and the theatrical present together. Rokem analyzes the significance of stage representations of the French Revolution and the Holocaust in different national contexts: the United States and Europe for performances about the French Revolution and Israel for performances about the Holocaust. By pointing out both the great diversity and the common features of these performances, he draws attention to the complex collective efforts and the creativity of playwrights, directors, designers and actors as they connect their theatrical energies to a specific historical past. He also focuses on the ways in which audiences in different cultures have been affected by and even had an influence on the ideological debates embedded in these performances. Rokem looks at plays and performances by Yehoshua Sobol, Dudu Ma'ayan and Hanoch Levin in Israel; Peter Brook, Ariane Mnouchkin and Ingmar Bergman in Europe; and Orson Welles, Herbert Blau and Robert Wilson in the United States. Drawing upon these and upon his own life in Europe, Israel and the United States, Rokem makes us aware of the critical interaction between the failures of history and the efforts to create viable and meaningful works of art.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 161.04 x 234.19 x 13.97mm | 362.87g
  • Iowa, United States
  • English
  • 22 photos
  • 1587295881
  • 9781587295881
  • 611,158

Review quote

"In this engaging new consideration of the relationship between history and theatre, Freddie Rokem uses the brilliant strategy of analyzing a series of theatrical attempts to treat that historical event that many have characterized as beyond artistic representation, the Shoah, alongside a series that have treated that event which from the beginning was conceived in theatrical terms, the French Revolution. The result of this inspired pairing is a book that throws important new light upon the role of theatre as witness to the past." - MARVIN CARLSON, Sidney E. Cohn Professor of Theatre, Graduate Center, City University of New York"
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Rating details

7 ratings
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