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New Territories

Theatre, Drama, and Performance in Post-apartheid South Africa


Edited By Greg Homann and Marc Maufort

South African theatre, drama, and performance is a vibrant and rapidly developing area of contemporary theatre studies. In this critical anthology of essays and interviews, some of the world’s most respected scholars and practitioners writing and working in the area of South African theatre today share their detailed examinations and insights on the complex and contradictory context of post-apartheid society. Loosely grouped into the categories of Theatre, Drama, and Performance, the essays collected here offer a sampling of work being staged, produced, and written in the country today. The contributors document, contrast, and analyse significant case studies, representing examples from site-specific performance to new South African plays, from traditional indigenous performance practice to the reimagining of Western classics. The anthology takes the year of South Africa’s first democratic election, 1994, as its departure point and includes a broad range of topics that capture the current paradigm.
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“After Titus:” Towards a Survey of Shakespeare on the Post-apartheid Stage


← 74 | 75 → “After Titus”

Towards a Survey of Shakespeare on the Post-apartheid Stage


University of the Witwatersrand

When undertaking an account of South African Shakespeare-in-performance since the legislative end of apartheid, one is faced with a number of structural choices. What is the best way to “categorise” Shakespearean productions? By date – a chronological narrative? By play? By director? By actor? By company? By theatre? By city? By popularity and commercial success – audience response and critical reception? What I am about to offer is a combination of these, and by no means an attempt to be comprehensive. It is also worth emphasising the problem of defining the “Shakespearean,” never mind the “South African”; this is a consideration to which I shall return shortly. It seems, however, that an obvious (indeed, a necessary) starting point is Titus Andronicus, staged at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg in 1995, the year after South Africa’s first democratic elections.

No post-apartheid Shakespeare production has received more scholarly attention than this Titus, which continues to function as a key point of reference when critics and theatre historians discuss the ways in which Shakespeare has been presented on South Africa’s stages over the last two decades.1 Various anxieties related to “local” adaptation emerge from these responses: the play-as-political-allegory, the representation of race and ethnicity, the “colonial cringe” and the practicalities of theatre-making (amongst others). The production was a collaboration with the ← 75 | 76 → English National Theatre...

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