Trauma and Drama/Theatre/Performance

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This chapter considers the ways that theatre and performance can be seen to offer a compelling and complex space in which people might encounter and consider traumata, personal or collective, local, national or global, historic or contemporary. Exploring structural similarities between the operation of performance and of trauma symptoms, the essay contends that performance and trauma share a complex interaction between presence and absence, and “impossibility” of representation. Tracing a "performance history" of trauma studies in Europe, the chapter turns to examine recent scholarship from drama/theatre/performance studies on trauma from perspectives as diverse as stand-up comedy, tragedy, popular performance and trauma tourism. Ending with an analysis of a heritage performances in New Orleans, ultimately the chapter hopes to reveal the mechanisms thought which performance engages with the politics and embodied experiences of trauma
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Literature and Trauma
EditorsColin Davis, Hanna Meretoja
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISBN (Print)9781138494923
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2020


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