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Introduction: Staging the Unknowable, the Unspeakable, the Unrepresentable

  • Miriam Haughton
Chapter
Part of the Contemporary Performance InterActions book series (CPI)

Abstract

This introductory chapter addresses the theoretical concepts central to the intersections of trauma, theatre and performance studies. It asks, if trauma is ‘unknowable’, as the discourse concurs, then how can live performance encounters stage it? Unpacking the case studies of performance in this volume which occur in contemporary Ireland, the north of Ireland and Britain, it introduces the staging contexts of traumatic histories drawn from personal testimonies and archival sources as well as those developed by more traditional playwright/director-driven production models. Central to this staging of trauma is a designated focus on female-centred traumas and performances led by female theatre artists. Judith Herman’s powerful finding in Trauma and Recovery, that it took the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s to highlight that the most dominant group suffering from PTSD are not veterans from war but women in civilian life, potently confirms the hostilities dominating the everyday experience for women. It also tells that their experience is largely normalised and dismissed by national priorities, and consequently, becomes marginalised, or indeed ‘shadowed’ as this volume’s subtitle identifies, until a wider state interest intersects, if at all. Finally, this introduction questions and considers what can the staging of trauma do?

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miriam Haughton
    • 1
  1. 1.National University of IrelandGalwayIreland

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