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Theses Doctoral

"The Destiny of Words": Documentary Theatre, the Avant-Garde, and the Politics of Form

Youker, Timothy Earl

This dissertation reads examples of early and contemporary documentary theatre in order to show that, while documentary theatre is often presumed to be an essentially realist practice, its history, methods, and conceptual underpinnings are closely tied to the historical and contemporary avant-garde theatre. The dissertation begins by examining the works of the Viennese satirist and performer Karl Kraus and the German stage director Erwin Piscator in the 1920s. The second half moves on to contemporary artists Handspring Puppet Company, Ping Chong, and Charles L. Mee. Ultimately, in illustrating the documentary theatre's close relationship with avant-gardism, this dissertation supports a broadened perspective on what documentary theatre can be and do and reframes discussion of the practice's political efficacy by focusing on how documentaries enact ideological critiques through form and seek to reeducate the senses of audiences through pedagogies of reception.

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Academic Units
Theatre
Thesis Advisors
Aronson, Arnold P.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
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