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‘Stop Putting Words in my Mouth!’: Undermining the Binary between the Actual and the Fictional

  • Lida Krüger

Abstract

The distinction between fictionality and actuality takes on a special significance in the theatre, which contains two frames simultaneously: a fictional and an actual. Although the presence of these frames is integral to performance, the demarcation between them often becomes blurred. Both Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing (1982) and Sam Holcroft's Edgar and Annabel (2011) problematize the relationship between an actor and the character that he or she portrays. While Stoppard's characters sometimes indulge in fictional portrayals, Holcroft's embody additional characters out of a sense of duty and commitment to a political cause. Although the stakes of keeping the illusion in place are seemingly much higher in Holcroft's play, both suggest that the blurring of the line between the actual and the fictional is not only inevitable, but also potentially dangerous. Lida Krüger is a senior lecturer in English Studies at the University of South Africa, Pretoria. Her current research interests include fictionality in theatre, the position of the audience in performance, and theatre archiving.

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‘Stop Putting Words in my Mouth!’: Undermining the Binary between the Actual and the Fictional

  • Lida Krüger

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