Failure, Trauma, and the Theatre of Negativity: The New Tragic in Contemporary Theatre and Performance

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Abstract

In this article, Alex Mangold identifies failure as a defining element of tragedy and argues that traditional understandings of the genre have been too narrow. Here, he asserts that tragic failure contributes to a tragic ‘mode’ that transcends genre definitions and, instead, extends to all kinds of contemporary theatre and performance. Examining a wide range of performance examples, including work from Sophocles to Sarah Kane, Forced Entertainment, Sasha Waltz, and Orlan, he argues that tragic failure, as it has come to be realized in examples of postdramatic writing and in site-specific or dance-based performance, is presented as an option, a dramatic choice, an outcome or part of an overall denial of dramatic form. The true power of the new tragic consequently lies in its ability to foster social change and a more ethical stance toward social dystopias.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalNew Theatre Quarterly
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • Sophocles
  • Sarah Kane
  • forced entertainment
  • postdramatic theatre
  • dystopias
  • new tragic
  • neoliberal society
  • reciprocity
  • Forced Entertainment

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