Congratulations to Professor David Barnett on his new book release "Theatricality, Playtexts and Society"

News | Posted on Thursday 16 May 2024

Congratulations to Professor David Barnett in his new book release "Theatricality, Playtexts and Society"

Theatricality, Playtexts and Society Book Cover

Theatricality, Playtexts and Society by Professor David Barnett

This Element proposes a novel way of defining, understanding and approaching theatricality, a term that exists both in the theatre and, more broadly, in everyday life. It argues that four foundational, material processes of theatre-making manifest themselves in all playtexts in both overt and covert forms. Each of the four sections defines a different theatrical process, explores its functions in two chosen playtexts and examines its implications for the wider experience of the spectators outside the theatre. The Element concludes with a supplementary reflection on performance to show how even seemingly untheatrical playtexts can be analysed and staged to reveal their unspoken theatricality. It also argues that this new understanding of theatricality has a politics, that the artifice of any theatre and the constructedness of any society are analogous and that both, consequently, can be fundamentally changed.

The plays considered are: Caryl Churchill, Heart's Desire and Blue Heart; Anna Deavere Smith, Fires in the Mirror; Peter Handke, Kaspar; Samuel Beckett, Catastrophe; Bertolt Brecht, The Decision (a.k.a The Measures Taken); Euripides, Eumenides; and Jackie Sibblies Drury, Fairview. The Conclusion argues that Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts can be read as a dark comic satire...

The "Theatricality, Playtexts and Society" online book can be viewed and purchased here.

Notes to editors:

David Barnett is Professor of Theatre at the University of York. He has authored monographs on Heiner Müller (Routledge, 2016; Peter Lang, 1998), The Berliner Ensemble (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Brecht’s theatre practice (Bloomsbury, 2014), and Fassbinder’s theatre (Cambridge University Press, 2005). He has written several articles and essays on political and postdramatic theatre