Performing Loss: Rebuilding Community through Theater and Writing (Theater in the Americas)
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.
Praise for Performing Loss: Rebuilding Community through Theater and Writing (Theater in the Americas)
“Jodi Kanter’s insightful and moving book should be read by all those who use performance and dramatic action as forms of healing. Kanter reminds us of the most profound goals of applying performance to the effects of trauma and loss—the restoring of hope and the rebuilding of community.”—Robert J. Landy, author of Persona and Performance: The Meaning of Role in Drama, Therapy, and Everyday Life and director of the Drama Therapy Program, New York University
“This beautifully written book explores the ways in which people configure and rehearse ‘the art of losing.’ Performing Loss not only describes a multiplicity of strategies for practicing mourning but performs them as well by speaking in a wide variety of voices—literary analysis, poems, practical exercises, adaptation, and personal memory—all employed to both explore and create imaginative new ways of relating loss and performance.”—Mary Zimmerman, Tony Award winner and professor of performance studies at Northwestern University
“There is much to recommend in this ambitious and successful book. Kanter crafts a sizable theoretical vision about loss and performance, and then proceeds to show, through examples and imagination, ways of embodying the theoretical in wonderfully concrete explorations and exercises. The pedagogical implications of these performative approaches to personal, community, political, and global loss are astonishing.”—Douglas L. Paterson, University of Nebraska at Omaha, founder of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed
“Performing Loss invites us into a space of imagining and practicing rituals for mourning. Elegantly composed, it not only makes a significant contribution to performance theory and practice but, more important, also speaks with resounding clarity and vision to pervasive social needs.”—Della Pollock, author of Telling Bodies Performing Birth