The Politics of Jean Genet's Late Theatre: Spaces of Revolution (Theatre: Theory, Practice, Performance)

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9780719077135: The Politics of Jean Genet's Late Theatre: Spaces of Revolution (Theatre: Theory, Practice, Performance)
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Jean Genet and the Politics of Theatre is the first publication to situate Genet's theatre within the wider social, spatial and political contexts of France in the 1950s and 1960s. The book's innovative, historical and spatial approach departs significantly from existing scholarship on Genet. Where scholars have tended to bracket Genet as either an absurdist, ritualistic or, more recently, a resistant playwright, this study argues that his theory and practice of political theatre have more in common with the affirmative ideas of thinkers such as Henri Lefebvre, Jacques Ranciere and Alain Badiou. By doing so, the monograph positions Genet as a revolutionary playwright, interested in producing progressive forms of democracy. The book argues that Genet possessed a coherent notion of political theatre predating his actual commitment to French students, the Black Panther Party and the Palestinians from 1968 onwards. Lavery goes on to analyze the ways in which Genet's major plays (The Balcony, The Blacks and The Screens), written between 1955 and 1961, set out to open the spatial and racial 'wounds' caused by decolonization and economic modernization in France. The final section of the book grounds theory in practice and acts a bridge between past and present by asking key practitioners (Lluis Pasqual, JoAnne Akalaitis, Ultz and Excalibah) to reflect on the contemporary relevance of Genet's dramas. The study also contains previously unpublished material, including the important 1956 text Preface to The Blacks. This highly original and interdisciplinary reading of Genet's late work will be of interest to Students and practitioners of Theatre, as well as those interested in French, Geography and History.

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"Lavery's brilliant analysis of the political meanings of Genet's late drama can be understood as paying homage to Genet's conceptual recedents. Thus does Lavery become part of a unique school of scholars, including Derrida, whose theoretical work reflects mimetically and matches the complexity of Genet's own theorizing."


About the Author:

Carl Lavery is Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at Aberystwyth University

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