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Narrating the Past through Theatre

Four Crucial Texts

Narrating the Past through Theatre by Michael Y. Bennett
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This cutting-edge Palgrave Pivot title explores how narrating the past through theatre both conflicts and creates an interesting relationship with drama's "continuing present" that arcs towards an unpredictable future. Examining three influential historical adaptations that span the time frame of modern drama (from the 'first' modern play to the cusp of WWII)—Georg Büchner's Danton's Death, Oscar Wilde's Salome, and Bertolt Brecht's Life of Galileo—this book delves into modern drama's sense and perception of time and its effect upon both the present and the future. Theatre both brings the past alive and also fixes it, but through the performance process (i.e., through the choices the director and actors make), allowing the past to be molded for future (not-yet-existent) audiences. Translated to the stage, the tense of the past (in a historical adaptation), then, is "always" (in both the present and the future): both in its limitation to a strict time and place and in its timelessness.

Palgrave Macmillan; October 2012
99 pages; ISBN 9781137275424
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Title: Narrating the Past through Theatre
Author: Michael Y. Bennett
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