South African Theatre and the Politics of the Improvisatory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This essay explores, with reference to South African theatre practice from the 1980s to the present, ways in which the capacity to be in a state of improvisation has resonances for political, existential, psychological and social performativity, agency and responsibility. Much improvisatory practice is concerned with ways in which the body, in and as performance, remembers and/or composes meaning. The essay traces the improvisatory (a condition rather than a single outcome) across different modes: from resistance to “formal hybridity,” moving towards a theatre rich in physical immediacy, and evoking a refusal to avoid trauma or pain as direct experience, engendered in and transmitted by the body in action, which operates a multi-layered presencing of history.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForays into Contemporary South African Theatre
EditorsMarc Maufort, Jessica Maufort
Place of PublicationLeiden & Boston:
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-41446-4
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-41445-7
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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