The Theater of Transformation
Quite remarkably, drama and theater play ancillary roles at best in many of the classic commentaries on postmodernism, as, for instance,in Jean-Francois Lyotard’s Postmodern Condition, David Harvey’s Condition of Postmodernity, or Jean Baudrillard’s Simulations. Ihab Hassan piles up a lengthy roster of artists from various disciplines, whose names epitomize postmodernism for him; there are, however, very few playwrights on this list: Beckett, Ionesco, Pinter, Handke, Bernhardt, and only Shepard and Wilson as American dramatists.1 French deconstruction and poststructuralism do not yield very different results. Jacques Derrida touches only briefly on the Theater ofCruelty and Antonin Artaud, and Roland Barthes mainly discusses bunraku and Brecht. “On the whole,” as Christopher Bigsby maintains, “theatre has commanded very little interest from the major theorists or those who have taken up their theories.
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