Testimonial theatre

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Theatre of testimony. (Also testimonial theatre) A term introduced by Loren Kruger (1999). No doubt deriving some of its relevance from Athol Fugard’s publically expressed view of his role as that of “witness” to the events in the country, it refers to the theatre “conventionally associated with the anti-apartheid movement, …. Variously identified with ‘protest’ and ‘resistance’, and the names of Athol Fugard, John Kani, or Barney Simon”. (p 13). It is marked by “the dramatic interpretation of individual and collective narratives, and of politically proviocative topics…. Its presentation combines physical and verbal comedy, impersonation of multiple roles with minimal props and direct address to the audience..” (p154) She also refers to it as Testimonial theatre, which she sees as constituting a “virtual public sphere” for a mode of counter publicity , “where South Africa could be depicted as it could have been and might yet be” (p13) and having the advantage of “institutional stability, sustained by liberal capital, and an audience large enough and legitimate enough - at home and abroad – to deflect overt suppression by the state” (p 154). Elsewhere she also refers to it variously as Theatre of defiance, Theatre of determination, and Theatre for resistance.

See Political theatre.

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