Performance and Interpretation

An art master great Rokem’s Introduction cautiously delimits the range of his question to productions concerning the Shoah and the French Revolution two main turning points in history that Rokem declare "have formed our modern consciousness, in exacting our intelligence of the historical past as a series of disastrous failures of basic human values". Working from this underlying assumption, Rokem endeavors to explore "the restorative potentials of the theatre in trying to counteract the destructive forces of history", to examine how these two "failures of history" have been represented on stage, and to address "the ways in which these performances have communicated in different national and ideological contexts"(Theater Journal, 323-347).
Great Rokem’s exploration of these issues proceeds primarily through his detailed, insightful analyses of live or recorded performances, but also makes productive use of published production reviews, programs, interviews, artists’ memoirs, and production-related archival documents.
Performance Production And Reception
The Introduction establishes the centrality of the actor in works that perform history, arguing that an actor performing a historical figure on stage "in a sense becomes a witness of the historical event". The actor is, in Rokem’s conception, a "hyper-historian" who serves "as a connecting link between the historical past and the ‘fictional’ performed here and now of the theatrical event". Rather than attempting to elide the differences in time between the historical event and its theatrical performance as happens in many traditional historical and documentary dramas Rokem’s "notion of performing history is based on strengthening or reinforcing the dialectics between" those times(K. K. Seet, 2000. 305).
The first three chapters of Performing History provide theatrical case studies allowing Rokem to articulate the concepts of performing history and the actor/witness as "hyper-historian" in greater, more concrete detail.
This section devotes less attention to the national or ideological context of performances as it considers productions acting, performance and interception which examined in this research relate to the French Revolution, the plays form a less unified grouping than found in history of the plays deal with the Marquis de Sade, the other does not. two are considered experimental works of collaborative creation, the other is not. two feature metatheatrical elements, the other does not. two depict "public events from the French Revolution which had very obviously distinct effects on the public sphere", the other does not. As a result, it is difficult to draw broader typological conclusions regarding these works. one of the plays generally stands as an exception to the principle under investigation. The consistency