TheaterMachine: Tadeusz Kantor in Context

Author, Researcher, or Creator

Magda RomanskaFollow

Affiliation of Author, Researcher, or Creator

School of the Arts

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Performing Arts


Magda Romanska, Kathleen Cioffi

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Publication, Publisher or Distributor

Northwestern University Press

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Brief Description

Theatermachine: Tadeusz Kantor in Context is an in-depth, multidisciplinary compendium of essays about one of the most influential theater artists of the twentieth century. Hans-Thies Lehmann’s theory of postdramatic theater and developments in critical theory—particularly Bill Brown’s thing theory, Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory, and posthumanism—serve to provide a previously unavailable vocabulary for discussion of Kantor’s theater. Drawing on diverse approaches, the contributors write about Kantor from both global and local perspectives: as an exemplar of “postdramatic tragedy”; in relationship to Jewish culture and Yiddish theater; through the prism of postmemory and trauma theory; and in relation to Japanese, German, French, Polish, and American avant-garde theater. This comprehensive anthology arrives at a time when we grapple with the materiality of our modern lives—AI, technobjects, and algorithms—and might thus also be better poised to understand the materiality that permeates Kantor’s theater. Theatermachine argues that while confronting the twentieth century’s most pressing, but least comfortable, questions—those of a human’s worth, dignity, essence, and purpose—Kantor might also have been, unwittingly, a harbinger of the twenty-first century’s political, ethical, aesthetic, and critical discourse.


theatre, performing arts, directing, Poland, postdramatic theater, tadeusz kantor, theater of death, postmemory, Holocaust, posthumanism, object theory, jewish theater, Dybbuk, Polish theater, avant-garde, avant-garde theater, trauma theory, directing, director, Yiddish theater, memory studies, experimental theater, devised theater, theater in Poland, auteur directors, Eastern European theater

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