The empty center : acting out theatric alliance in three texts by Sarah Kane
- Author(s): Moshy, Summer Neilson
- et al.
This dissertation situates Sarah Kane's dramatic work beyond its In-Yer-Face debut productions (U.K.; circa 1995 -2000) and within the larger spectrum of western drama in an effort to introduce a new dramatic vocabulary with which to critically engage with non-traditional dramatic texts. I argue for the establishment of a theatric alliance, which I define as the joining of a text (Kane's in this case) with a contributing narrative for production in an effort to achieve a specific social, political, or theatrical goal. I posit that Kane's carefully constructed dramaturgy includes a conscious invitation, via textual and narrative "gaps," to the theatre artist(s), to participate in this alliance. This collaboration results in a critical alliance with Kane's texts that ultimately re-inspires them as relevant, current, and active pieces of theatre, thereby gaining admission into a myriad of vastly different social and political climates. I discuss the implications of previous contributing narratives that have forged an alliance with Kane's texts including: disabled-led theatre, state-controlled art, mental-illness, and suicide. I extend Wolfgang Iser's literary theory of the implied reader to include an implied reader/performer as well as an implied audience. By engaging with the critical theories of Iser, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jacques Derrida, Mikhail Bakhtin, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, and Victor Turner, I argue that the malleability and ingenuity of Kane's texts allows her work to transcend the limits of the media criticism endured during the mid- to late 1990s and be included among the most poignant and astutely engaging theatre in modern drama