Theatre, Drama, and Performance in Post-apartheid South Africa
New Territories: Exploring the Post-apartheid Stage
Greg HOMANN and Marc MAUFORT
In 1997 South African theatre historian, Temple Hauptfleisch, published a study entitled Theatre & Society in South Africa: Reflections in a Fractured Mirror. This was a culmination of roughly twenty years of his scholarship. In it, his broad approach to South African theatre studies strengthened the base from which more specialized studies would follow.
Hauptfleisch named eight forms of South African theatre, recognising traditional practices such as cultural initiation ceremonies, storytelling around a fire, and outdoor church services alongside dramas, plays, and workshopped theatre productions. His aim was to highlight a conversation that challenged conventional ways of studying theatre and that could readdress Western notions of the canon which informed the bias that was, and still is, evident in the study of South African theatre. In the preface to the book he stated:
An area not dealt with much is that of the theatre as system – the network of related and interrelating processes involved in eventually staging a play. Yet changes in the system of theatremaking, as well as changing concepts about such a system, may actually change one’s concepts of theatre itself and more specifically about the way one views theatre history. What we really need, of course, is a comprehensive new history of theatre in South Africa, but perhaps our theoretical perspectives are still heavily loaded into what one might call colonial thinking. Or into some other (equally dated) paradigm, discourse or ideology. (vi)
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