In Performing Loss: Rebuilding Community through Theater and Writing, author Jodi Kanter explores opportunities for creativity and growth within our collective responses to grief. Performing Loss provides teachers, students, and others interested in performance with strategies for reading, writing, and performing loss as communities—in the classroom, the theater, and the wider public sphere.
From an adaptation of Jose Saramago’s novel Blindness to a reading of Suzan-Lori Parks’s The America Play, from Kanter’s own experience creating theater with terminally ill patients and federal prisoners to a visual artist’s response to September 11th, Kanter shows in practical, replicable detail how performing loss with community members can transform experiences of isolation and paralysis into experiences of solidarity and action.
Drawing on academic work in performance, cultural studies, literature, sociology, and anthropology, Kanter considers a range of responses to grief in historical context and goes on to imagine newer, more collaborative, and more civically engaged responses. Performing Loss describes Kanter’s pedagogical and artistic processes in lively and vivid detail, enabling the reader to use her projects as models or to adapt the techniques to new communities, venues, and purposes. Kanter demonstrates through each example the ways in which writing and performing can create new possibilities for mourning and living together.