Recently in the field of theatre studies there has been an increasing amount of debate and dissonance regarding the borders of its territory, its methodologies, subject matter, and scholarly perspectives. The nature of this debate could be termed "political" and, in fact, concerns "the performance of power"—the struggle over power relations embedded in texts, methodologies, and the academy itself.
This striking new collection of nineteen divergent essays represents this performance of power and the way in which the recent convergence of new critical theories with historical studies has politicized the study of the theatre. Neither play text, performance, nor scholarship and teaching can safely reside any longer in the "free," politically neutral, self-signifying realm of the aesthetic. Politicizing theatrical discourse means that both the hermeneutics and the histories of theatre reveal the role of ideology and power dynamics.
New strategies and concepts—and a vital new phase of awareness—appear in these illuminating essays. A variety of historical periods, from the Renaissance through the Victorian and up to the most contemporary work of the Wooster group, illustrate the ways in which contemporary strategies do not require contemporary texts and performances but can combine with historical methods and subjects to produce new theatrical discourse.