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    Performing the Queer past: public possessions

    Walsh, Fintan (2023) Performing the Queer past: public possessions. London, UK: Methuen Drama. ISBN 9781350297968. (In Press)

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    Book synopsis: Why do contemporary queer theatre and performance appear to be possessed by the past? What aesthetic practices and dramaturgical devices reveal the occupation of the present by painful history? How might the experience of theatre and performance relieve the present of its most arduous burdens? Following recent legislation and cultural initiatives across many Western countries that suggest the darkest days for LGBTQ+ people are over, this book turns our attention to artists who invoke history's enduring harm. Guiding us through an eclectic range of examples that includes Artangel, Cassils, David Hoyle, Dickie Beau, Franko B, Jeremy O. Harris, Karen Finley, les ballets C de la B, McDermott & McGough, Milo Rau, Rachel Mars, Split Britches and Travis Alabanza, Walsh explores how this work reckons with the incarceration and untimely death of Oscar Wilde, the Holocaust, racial objectification, the AIDS crisis and covid-19, alongside more local and personal experiences of violence, trauma and grief. Walsh deftly traces how these histories are summoned and interrogated via what he elaborates as aesthetics and dramaturgies of possession, which lend form to the still-stinging aches and generative potential of injustice and loss. These strategies expose how the past continues to haunt a wishfully timeless present, while calling on those of us who feel its force to tend to history's unresolved hurt.


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