Postdramatic Theatre, Hans-Thies Lehmann, trans. Karen Jürs-Munby

Denise Varney


Postdramatic Theatre, Hans-Thies Lehmann, trans. Karen Jürs-Munby (London and New York: Routledge, 2006).

The English translation of Hans-Thies Lehmann’s Postdramatic Theatre, a study of theatre practice from the 1970s to the present, was finally published in early 2006, seven years after its original German publication. In the meantime, the French (2002), Japanese (2002), Slovenian (2003), Croatian (2003), Polish (2004) and Persian/Farsi (2005) translations were available, meaning that English-only readers had to rely on their bilingual colleagues or read secondary accounts of its content and impact. The effect is a certain feeling of déjà vu because the debate about postdramatic theatre has already had a good airing. Moreover, scholars have been adept at applying postmodern theory to performance practice and so in many ways Lehmann’s study is a revisiting of postmodern theatre, replacing the operative term postmodern with postdramatic. The principal exponents of this new theatre are widely-known and highly-regarded in intellectual and artistic circles if not the box-office—the Wooster Group, the theatres of Robert Wilson and Heiner Müller, Germany’s Regietheater, Jan Fabre, Forced Entertainment and so on —that have been the subject of debate for some time.

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