Staging Postcommunism: Alternative Theatre in Eastern and Central Europe after 1989

Staging Postcommunism: Alternative Theatre in Eastern and Central Europe after 1989

by Vessela S. Warner, Diana Manole


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Theatre in Eastern and Central Europe was never the same after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In the transition to a postcommunist world, “alternative theatre” found ways to grapple with political chaos, corruption, and aggressive implementation of a market economy. Three decades later, this volume is the first comprehensive examination of alternative theatre in ten former communist countries. The essays focus on companies and artists that radically changed the language and organization of theatre in the countries formerly known as the Eastern European bloc. This collection investigates the ways in which postcommunist alternative theatre negotiated and embodied change not only locally but globally as well.

Contributors: Dennis Barnett, Dennis C. Beck, Violeta Decheva, Luule Epner, John Freedman, Barry Freeman, Margarita Kompelmakher, Jaak Rahesoo, Angelina Ros¸ca, Ban¸uta Rubess, Christopher Silsby, Andrea Tompa, S. E. Wilmer

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781609386771
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Publication date: 01/01/2020
Series: Studies Theatre Hist & Culture Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 298
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Vessela S. Warner is associate professor of theatre history, dramatic literature, and dramaturgy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Diana Manole is an instructor of drama and literature at Trent University in Canada. Manole has published nine collections of poems and plays.

Table of Contents

Restoring Theatre Activism in Postcommunist Eastern and Central Europe Diana Manole xi

Alternative Theatre in the Postcolonies of Communism Vessela S. Warner xvii

Part I Re/Inventing Alternative Theatre after the Fall of Communism

1 Reality Makers: Hungarian Independent Theatre before and after Communism Andrea Tompa 3

2 The Center and the Fringe: Post-Soviet Alternative Theatre in Estonia Jaak Rähesoo 17

3 Theatre NO99: An Alternative State Theatre Luule Epner 32

4 The Search for Alternatives in Latvian Theatre, 1991-2004: A Creator's Notebook Banuta Rubess 47

5 The Assault of Alternative Theatre against the Limited Universe Angelina Rosca 61

6 Teatr.doc and the Struggle for Authenticity and Relevance in Contemporary Russian Drama and Theatre John Freedman 76

7 DAH Theatre: Decontaminating Serbian Culture Dennis Barnett 91

Part II Postcommunist Aesthetics and Performance Dissent

8 Fusing Performative Boundaries: Relations among Text, Actor, and Space in the Experimental Style of Theatre Laboratory Sfumato Violeta Detcheva Vessela S. Warner 107

9 Theatre Laboratory Alma Alter: Jerzy Grotowski's Legacy and the Heterogeneous Origin of Bulgarian Alternative Theatre Vessela S. Warner 121

10 Redefining Kitsch and Camp in Russian Opera: Moscow's Helikon Opera in Transition Christopher Silsby 135

11 Prague's Studio Ypsilon and the Czech Liberated Theatre: An Intercultural Perspective at the Start of the Twenty-First Century Barry Freeman 149

12 After the Avalanche: Czech Theatre's Search for the Meaning of Alternative Dennis C. Beck 164

13 Playing with Citizenship: NSK and Janez Janša S. E. Wilmer 180

14 The Perfect Other: Performing Artistic Freedom in Solidarity with the Belarus Free Theatre Margarita Kompelmakher 195

Notes 209

Bibliography 233

Contributors 251

Index 255

What People are Saying About This

Bryce Lease

Staging Postcommunism makes an important contribution to the field in a number of dynamic modes. This fills a significant gap in the scholarship, addressing a wide range of nations and cultures in Eastern and Central Europe, whose extensive and influential theatre histories of the twentieth century to the present day are still woefully underrepresented in English language
scholarship. I read the book with great enthusiasm.”—Bryce Lease, author, After ’89: Polish Theatre and the Political

Marc Robinson

Staging Postcommunism opens the door on an area of the world where theatre vibrantly looks to answer the sociological, political, and personal issues of identity that emerged following the breakup of the Soviet Union.”—Marc Robinson, St. Olaf College

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