ReTAGS Speaker Series | Act 4 | Prof. Christina Wald
Act 4 of the ReTAGS Speaker Series.
"Antigone: Requiem, Ruin, Revenant"
In this Speaker Series, Prof. Christina Wald compared Magnet Theatre’s Antigone (not quite/quiet) to a rewriting of Sophocles’ tragedy by the Austrian playwright Thomas Köck that premiered in the same month.
Both productions can be described as post-dramatic reassemblages of the Antigone material, both link theatre and theory, both use the chorus as a central creative device and employ a strongly rhythmic language. The different adaptation principles of the plays concern their aesthetic as well as political affordances: Köck’s title calls his version of Antigone a requiem and a recomposition, while director Mark Fleishman describes the production principle of the collaboratively written and choreographed Antigone (not quite/quiet) as ‘ruinous’. The politics of the dead are at the centre of both plays and closely connected to their respective colonial histories and postcolonial challenges. In both dramas, the dead return as revenants: In Köck’s drama, the dead who are washed ashore the European beach are reanimated, reminding Europe of its colonial history and its responsibility for current migration movements, while in Antigone (not quite/quiet) a chorus of Antigone figures in their tomb embodies the liminal state of South African society. Both plays turn Ismene into a problematic identification figure. While in Magnet Theatre’s production she embodies the white ‘leftovers’ in South Africa who are haunted by their historical guilt, Köck’s Ismene struggles to face her postcolonial responsibility.
Presented online (Zoom meeting) on Thursday 28 April 2022 at 12:00 SAST. Chaired by Prof. Mark Fleishman.
Christina Wald is Professor of English Literature and Literary Theory and Director of the Centre for Cultural Inquiry at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Her research focuses on contemporary drama, performance, film, and TV series as well as on early modern drama and prose fiction with a particular interest in questions of adaptation, intertextuality and cultural transmission. As member of the NOMIS research project ‘Traveling Forms’, she currently pursues a research project on the cultural travels of Greek and Shakespearean tragedy in the globalized present tense.
She is the author of Hysteria, Trauma and Melancholia: Performative Maladies in Contemporary Anglophone Drama (Palgrave 2007), The Reformation of Romance: The Eucharist, Disguise and Foreign Fashion in Early Modern Prose Fiction (de Gruyter 2014) and Shakespeare’s Serial Returns in Complex TV (Palgrave 2020). She has co-edited several books, among them The Literature of Melancholia: Early Modern to Postmodern (Palgrave 2011). Recent articles have appeared in Modern Drama, Classical Receptions Journal, Adaptation, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Shakespeare and Shakespeare. Survey.