19-20 DT2201: Theatre & Text: Staging the Real

Building on DT1200 Theatre & Text, this course engages with theatre texts, and the relations between text, performance and the social world. From the naturalist stage of the late nineteenth century to contemporary verbatim performance, theatre practitioners have frequently sought to represent social reality in order to critique it. In this course, we’ll explore the methods and implications of theatre’s ‘reality-effects’ and consider why it is that so many theatre companies and practitioners in the twenty-first century have turned to documentary, tribunal, verbatim and other forms of reality-based performance. We’ll study a contrasting range of plays and performance texts from around the world, and build an understanding of the politics, possibilities and limitations of ‘staging the real’.

In the first half of the course, we will explore a global range of approaches to the staging of documentary theatre material in the twenty-first century; we will also develop an appreciation of the theoretical implications and historical traditions of ‘staging the real’. Throughout the term, we will explore verbatim theatre both critically (through discussion, presentations, and essay writing), and creatively (in workshops, rehearsals, and performances).