CDE Studies 22

Paula Deubner
„Into the Light“: Selbst und Transzendenz in den Dramen Sarah Kanes

Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2012.
ISBN 978-3-86821-371-3, 254 S., kt., € 27,50 (2012)

Vergewaltigung, Verstümmelung und Selbstmord – die Bilder der Gewalt in den Dramen Sarah Kanes sind drastisch. Sie sind Teil einer Dramaturgie der figuralen Durchdringung, die hier unter dem Stichwort „Transfiguralität“ systematisch interpretiert wird. Kane thematisiert mit der Transfiguralität die Suche nach einer ultimativen Identität, die nicht in der Identifikation mit dem Anderen, sondern in der Transzendenz ihren Zielpunkt findet. Damit entwirft Kane in ihrer Dramaturgie eine moderne Mystik, in der das Selbst nur in seiner Überwindung und Auflösung gelingt. Der geschundene Leib wird mit einer negativen Religiosität und mit Vorstellungen romantischer Liebe konnotiert. Aus dieser Dramatisierung von Leiblichkeit, Liebe und Religiosität entwickelt Kane eine Teleologie des Selbst, die auf transzendierende Grenzerfahrungen zielt. Mit dieser Studie liegt erstmals eine umfassende Analyse des Nexus von Selbst und Transzendenz in den Dramen Kanes vor.

Contemporary Drama in English 18

Merle Tönnies, Christina Flotmann, eds.
Narrative in Drama

Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2011.
ISBN 978-3-86821-315-7, EUR 27,50.

The papers collected in this volume were first presented at the 2010 CDE conference at Paderborn and address the forms and functions of narrative elements in English-language drama and theatre from the 1990s onwards. The contributions focus especially on questions of authenticity in theatrical discourse, on the relationship between performed stories and their audiences and on the potential of stage narratives to construct (different versions of) subjectivity. The dramatic forms that are studied range from documentary and autobiographical works to ‚in-yer-face‘ plays, monodrama, Black British drama and post-dramatic theatre. Thus, the volume as a whole offers a comprehensive overview of the ways in which playwrights and performers are increasingly using storytelling formats in times when ‚grand narratives‘ have long lost their power.

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Contemporary Drama in English 19

Mark Berninger, Bernhard Reitz, eds.
Ethical Debates in Contemporary Theatre and Drama

Contemporary Drama in English 19.
Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2012.
ISBN 978-3-86821-377-5, EUR 26,50.

The scholarly essays collected in this volume illuminate the renewed interest of contemporary theatre and drama in English in discussions of ethical dilemma. They address questions posed by numerous recent plays about the nature of ethical decisions in complex circumstances at the beginning of the 21st century. Taken together, they show in great detail how, in opposition to the political drama of the 1960s and 70s, contemporary theatre and drama finds it difficult to identify positions of moral superiority and rather engages in performances of open debates about just war, the drawbacks of humanitarian aid, the entanglements of global economic crisis, or the multi-layered ethics of memory. This also includes, as the articles further illustrate, an inquiry into the ethics of theatrical representation and the moral implications of spectatorship. The collection is rounded off by contributions by three British playwrights (Rona Munro, Julia Pascal, and Alistair Beaton) who explain the ethical dimension which informs their writing.

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Elżbieta Baraniecka
Sublime Drama: British Theatre of the 1990s
(published in CDE Studies Vol. 23)


Cristina Delgado Garcia
The Aesthetics and Politics of Character and Subjectivity in Contemporary British Theatre (First Prize)

Sarah Grochala
Seriousness, Structure and the Dramaturgy of Social Life: The Politics of Dramatic Structure in Contemporary British Playwriting 1997-2011 (Joint Second Prize)

Claudia Georgi
Liveness and Mediatisation: The Use of Film and Video in Contemporary British Theatre and Performance (Joint Second Prize)

2015 Barcelona

„Theatre and Spectatorship“
ReportConference Homepage
(Selected conference papers are published in JCDE 4.1, 2016.)

2016 Eichstätt

„Theatre and Mobility“
Report • (Selected conference papers will be published in JCDE 5.1, 2017.)

CDE Studies 23

Elżbieta Baraniecka
Sublime Drama: British Theatre of the 1990s

Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2013.
ISBN 978-3-11-030993-5, 254 S., geb., € 99,95 (2013)

British drama of the 1990s is most commonly associated with the term in-yer-face theatre, which was coined by Aleks Sierz to describe the shocking and provocative work of emerging playwrights such as Mark Ravenhill or Sarah Kane. Taking a cue from Sierz’s own suggestion that what still remains to be researched more thoroughly in this field is the particular relationship between the stage and the audience, this monograph undertakes precisely that task.

Rather than use the term offered by Sierz, however, the study proposes a different concept to account for the dynamics of communication within the particular theatre of the 1990s, namely the aesthetic category of the sublime. Coupled with elements of Reader Response Theory, the sublime proves to be a more fruitful term, as it provides more precise tools for the analysis of the audience’s aesthetic response than does in-yer-face theatre.

With the help of four representative plays by four key playwrights of that time, Closer by Patrick Marber, Normal by Anthony Neilson, Faust is Dead by Mark Ravenhill and 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane, the book details the consecutive stages in the process of the plays‘ reception that the members of the audience go through while forming their aesthetic response to them. Looking through the prism of the sublime, the study not only offers a detailed analysis of each play but also suggests an entirely new approach to British drama of the 1990s.

CDE Studies 24

Clara Escoda Agusti
Martin Crimps’s Theatre: Collapse as Resistance to Late Capitalist Society

Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2013.
ISBN 978-3-11-030995-9, 336 pp., hardb., € 99,95 (2013)

This book reads Martin Crimp’s The Treatment (1993), Attempts on her Life (1997), The Country (2000), Face to the Wall (2002), Cruel and Tender (2004) and his adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull (2006) in the context of contemporary, late capitalist societies of control or of ’spectacle‘, and explores how female collapse in particular works as a form of denunciation of the violence of globalized, technological neo-liberalism.

The book contends that Crimp is a post-Holocaust writer, whose dramaturgy is pervaded by the ethical and aesthetic debates that the Holocaust has generated in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Its main claim is that, by interpellating spectators through the defamiliarized language of collapse and testimony, Crimp invites spectators to contribute to detecting the seeds of ‚barbarism‘ as they may detect them in their context, thus warning them about the introduction of violence in supposedly civilized relationships and thereby also contributing to overcoming the contemporary ethical impasse.

The book finally argues that female characters who pass on their testimony are shown to the audience in the ‚process of becoming‘ ethical bodies – namely, they are emerge as ethical out of the perceived necessity to integrate both the Other as essential parts of their beings, thus recovering an innate, Baumian sense of responsibility towards the Other.