Memory, Theatre and Performance
Collective, embodied, archival, commemorative, spatial, ghosted, revised, fractured, persistent, and grieved – memory is the locus and the framework for this course which explores how memory functions in theatre and cultural performance, and how history and identity are shaped, remembered, and can be re-imagined through the processes of memory. Beginning with the fundamental, expansive concepts of memory’s operations by Maurice Halbwachs, we will work with theoretical contributions to the field of memory studies as outlined by Paul Connerton, Pierre Nora, Paul Ricoeur, and others. The transformational place of memory in theatre and performance then engages us with the disparate work of theatre and cultural studies scholars as they explore spaces, texts, and performances, in the theatre and in daily life, that offer evocative approaches and analyses that demonstrate what memory in the theatre and performance can teach us about the past, the present, and the human condition. Some areas of inquiry will include: rethinking the cultural production and exchange of history and memory; reconsidering ways and sites of knowing through embodied practices; looking again at the inescapable layers of the past that inform our reception of a text in the present; and re-envisioning the power of mourning and commemoration to a community identity wounded by a collective loss. We will read selections from a variety of interdisciplinary case studies and memory projects, such as works by Joseph Roach, Diana Taylor, James E. Young, Marvin Carlson, and Deborah Paredez.