Drama as Truth Commission: Reconciliation and Dealing with the Past in South African and Irish Theatre

Parr, Connal (2021) Drama as Truth Commission: Reconciliation and Dealing with the Past in South African and Irish Theatre. Interventions, 23 (1). pp. 98-119. ISSN 1369-801X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/1369801X.2020.1813611


South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission is an internationally regarded – if contested – touchstone for transitional justice, but it functioned above all as exemplary theatre, bringing together thousands of disparate voices. Like the theatrical space generally, it provided a forum for differing narratives about the past to be aired in post-Apartheid South Africa. In Ireland, on the other hand, there has not been – nor are we likely to see – any truth commission. It is this essay’s contention that drama is the nearest the society will get to exploring the past, with the theatre a safe space in which storytelling and debates are taking place beyond the impasse of the political culture. This article approaches this through four plays: Athol Fugard’s The Train Driver and Owen McCafferty’s Quietly (both 2012) and David Ireland’s Cyprus Avenue and Mongiwekhaya’s I See You (both 2016). All reflect complications of dialogue(s) taking place on the past, and themes of reconciliation, in their respective territories.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Conflict, drama, Ireland, reconciliation, South Africa, truth commission
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
W400 Drama
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2020 09:35
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2022 03:30
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/42642

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