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It is time to change the way we talk about writing in theater. This book offers a new argument that reimagines modern theater's critical power and places innovative writing at the heart of the experimental stage. While performance studies, German Theaterwissenschaft, and even text-based drama studies have commonly envisioned theatrical performance as something that must operate beyond the limits of the textual imagination, this book shows how a series of writers have actively shaped new conceptions of theater's radical potential. Engaging with a range of theorists, including Theodor Adorno, Jarcho reveals a modern tradition of 'negative theatrics,' whose artists undermine the here and now of performance in order to challenge the value and the power of the existing world. This vision emerges through surprising new readings of modernist classics - by Henry James, Gertrude Stein, and Samuel Beckett - as well as contemporary American works by Suzan-Lori Parks, Elevator Repair Service, and Mac Wellman.Read more
- Revises the common understanding of writing's place in modern theater and particularly examines the role of the playwright in actively shaping new conceptions of theater's radical potential
- Re-examines canonical texts of modern theater and drama studies, offering a new account of their significance and relationship to each other
- Offers a new argument for the relevance of Theodor Adorno's philosophy to theater studies, revealing a modern tradition of 'negative theatrics'
Reviews & endorsements
'In short, the achievement of Jarcho’s book is that it is not only a complex and challenging piece of scholarship that probes into the underappreciated potential of theatrical writing, but also serves as an invaluable model for scholars looking to renegotiate the place of theater both beyond and beside drama in the contemporary academy.' Chris Corbo, ASAP/JournalSee more reviews
'A review this short cannot do justice to the intricacies of Jarcho’s analysis here and throughout Writing and the Modern Stage. Backed by its author’s extensive knowledge of drama, performance, and critical theory, Jarcho’s book offers a powerful counter-argument to those who see writing as something that theatre overcomes in order to achieve an authentic presentness.' Stanton B. Garner, Jr, Modern Drama
'This book is a testament to the importance of scholarly work that not only considers theatre as one of many manifestations in the large bubbling pot of cultural production but also attends to the intricacies of medial specificity.' Eleanor Skimin, Theatre Survey
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- Date Published: May 2020
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107584815
- length: 285 pages
- dimensions: 230 x 153 x 16 mm
- weight: 0.46kg
- contains: 1 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. Modernism's Negative Theatrics:
1. Introduction: negative theatrics
2. 'Something stranger yet': theatrical distractions in Henry James and Gertrude Stein
3. 'Gesture towards the universe': theater as utopia in Waiting for Godot
Part II. Beyond the Present: Playwrights at the Turn of the Millennium:
4. Introduction: staging writing today
5. The promise of 'playwriting': Suzan-Lori Parks
6. 'Small, fierce creatures': Mac Wellman's auratic theater.
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