Bertolt Brecht's silent Kattrin in Mother Courage, or the disability performance lessons of his Peachum in The Threepenny Opera; Tennessee Williams' limping Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and hard-of-hearing Bodey in A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur; Samuel Beckett's blind Hamm and his physically disabled parents Nagg and Nell in Endgame – these and many further examples attest to disability's critical place in modern drama. This Companion explores how disability performance studies and theatre practice provoke new debate about the place of disability in these works. The book traces the local and international processes and tensions at play in disability theatre, and offers a critical investigation of the challenges its aesthetics pose to mainstream and traditional practice.
The book's first part surveys disability theatre's primary principles, critical terms, internal debates and key challenges to theatre practice. Examining specific disability theatre productions of modern drama, it also suggests how disability has been re-envisaged and embodied on stage. In the book's second part, leading disability studies scholars and disability theatre practitioners analyse and creatively re-imagine modern drama, demonstrating how disability aesthetics press practitioners and scholars to rethink these works in generative, valuable and timely ways.
About the Author
Kirsty Johnston is associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Her publications include the monograph Stage Turbans: Canadian Disability Theatre (2012) and she has also published in such jourbanals as Modern Drama, Theatre Topics and The Jourbanal of Medical Humanities.
Table of Contents
Part I: Critical Survey of Disability Theatre Aesthetics, Politics, and Practices
1. What is Disability Theatre?
2. Critical Embodiment and Casting
3. Staging Inclusion
4. Inherited Plays and New Approaches
Part II: Critical Perspectives
5. “Every Man his Specialty”: Beckett, Disability, and Dependence Michael Davidson (University of California, San Diego, USA)
6. Reclaiming the Ordinary Extraordinary Body: Or, The Importance of The Glass Menagerie for Literary Disability Studies Ann M. Fox (Davidson College, USA)
7. Access Aesthetics and Modern Drama: An Interview with Jenny Sealey on Graeae Theatre Company's The Threepenny Opera and Blood Wedding Kirsty Johnston
8. Shattering the Glass Menagerie Terry Galloway, M. Shane Grant, Ben Gunter, and Carrie Sandahl (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA)
Notes on Contributors