Violent Stages: Excess, Memory and Ritual in ContemporaryTheater in Bogotá Open Access

Aschner Restrepo, Camila (2013)

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This dissertation explores how contemporary theater in Colombia has been responding to recent histories of violence in the country. I analyze how theatrical productions construct aesthetics of excess that effectively re-inscribe memories into the public by operating as ritual spaces. In the first chapter I study Mapa Teatro's Los santos inocentes, which is based on an homonymous festival in Guapi, Cauca, and the massacres of the Naya River. I read the play as an example of what Antonin Artaud called "theater of cruelty" and set it in dialogue with theories about carnival, theater and excess. I analyze how the play brings together instances of joy and pain (festival and massacre) in a single theatrical event that overwhelms the audience and makes it part of a story that dissolves the borders between truth and fiction. The second chapter is based on Teatro de Occidente's Homo Sacer and its theater of fragmentation. I read this production in dialogue with Giorgio Agamben's work of the same title that served as inspiration for the play in order to understand the different types of sacredness that the production seeks to restore to human life. I argue that the performance effectively recreates the space of a mass grave forcing its audience to occupy the place of the victims. In the third chapter I study Nicolás Montero and Humberto Dorado's El deber de Fenster. The play is based on the main testimony about the massacre of Trujillo, Valle, and builds a documentary piece around it. I read this play in dialogue with theories about torture and testimony and argue that the play itself becomes a new instance of testimony that interpellates the spectators transforming them into witnesses. I also analyze the role that ghosts play in the production in order to understand the role of the memory of the disappeared on stage. The last chapter presents the three plays in dialogue in order to show the operations that they perform together on excess, memory and ritual and how they become new instances of violence on the stage.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1. Festival and Massacre: Staging Excess in Mapa Teatro's Los santos

Inocentes 21

2. Bearing Witness from the Mass Grave: Ritual and Space of Death in

Teatro de Occidente's Homo Sacer 66

3. Ghostly Interpellations: Testimonial Encounters in El deber de

Fenster 110

4. Ritual Inscriptions of Excessive Memories 154

Works Cited 196

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