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The Possibilities of Contemporary Dialectical Theatre: The Example of Representing Neonazism in Germany

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Publication details

JournalContemporary Theatre Review
DateAccepted/In press - 28 Dec 2015
DatePublished (current) - 18 Jul 2017
Issue number2
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)245-262
Original languageEnglish


This article opens with a contextualizing examination of dialectics in the theatre and the ways that the category can function politically. It then analyses four examples of theatre works that confront the German Neonazi terrorist cell, the National Socialist Underground. It argues that representing the cell and the various social and political forces that allowed it to function for over a decade can best be apprehended by a dialectical approach that resists determinism and engages in grounded speculation. The four pieces in question exemplify the breadth of dramaturgical possibilities employed by the different theatre-makers, moving from the documentary to the fictional. The varieties of dialectical theatre discussed are contrasted with the limitations of Brecht’s practices in order to re-introduce the category to contemporary theatre-making. Consequently, the article notes some of the formal commonalities in the pieces it considers and proposes that these might offer ways of approaching other contemporary political issues on stage.

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© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

    Research areas

  • Dialectics, National Socialist Underground, Theatre, Political theatre

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