Theatrical Performance and the Forensic Turn  book cover
1st Edition

Theatrical Performance and the Forensic Turn

ISBN 9780367730635
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

Contemporary theatre, like so much of contemporary life, is obsessed with the ways in which information is detected, packaged and circulated. Running through forms as diverse as neo-naturalistic playwriting, intimately immersive theatre, verbatim drama, intermedial performance, and musical theatre, a common thread can be observed: theatre-makers have moved away from assertions of what is true and focussed on questions about how truth is framed.

Commentators in various disciplines, including education, fine art, journalism, medicine, cultural studies, and law, have identified a ‘forensic turn’ in culture. The crucial role played by theatrical and performative techniques in fuelling this forensic turn has frequently been mentioned but never examined in detail. Political and poetic, Theatrical Performance and the Forensic Turn is the first account of the relationship between theatrical and forensic aesthetics.

Exploring a rich variety of works that interrogate and resist the forensic turn, this is a must-read not only for scholars of theatre and performance but also of culture across the arts, sciences and social sciences.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Theatrical Performance in the Forensic Turn

  1. Data Chaos and the Verification Void

  2. I’m Seen Therefore I Am: Romance in the Forensic Turn

  3. The Hypothetical Real vs. the Interiority Illusion

  4. Life Throes: The Strange Case of the Diehard Corpse

  5. Undead Domesticity: Naturalism and Home in the Forensic Turn

  6. Open Dialogue as Prefigurative Performance: Re-assembling the Forum (Part I)

  7. Effects of Infinity: Re-assembling the Forum (Part II)




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James Frieze teaches contemporary performance practice and theory at Liverpool John Moores University. His devised theatre-making centres on the adaptation of non-theatre texts for site-responsive and other performance contexts. He is also the author of Naming Theatre: Demonstrative Diagnosis in Performance (2009) and the editor of Reframing Immersive Theatre: The Politics and Pragmatics of Participatory Performance (2016).