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Performing Violence

Literary and Theatrical Experiments of New Russian Drama

The so-called “New Russian Drama” emerged at the end of the twentieth century, following a long period of decline in dramatic writing in the late Soviet and post-Soviet era. In Performing Violence, Birgit Beumers and Mark Lipovetsky examine the representation of violence in these new dramatic works by young Russian playwrights. Reflecting the disappointment in Yeltsin’s democratic reforms and Putin’s neoconservative politics, the plays focus on political and social representations of violence, its performances, and its justifications.

As the first English-language study of Russian drama and theatre in the twenty-first century, Performing Violence seeks a vantage point for the analysis of brutality in post-Soviet culture. While previous generations had preferred poetry and prose, this new breed of authors—the Presnyakov brothers, Evgeni Grishkovets, and Vasili Sigarev among them—have garnered international recognition for their fierce plays. This book investigates the violent portrayal of the identity crisis of a generation as represented in their theatrical works, and will be a key text for students and scholars of drama, Russian studies, and literature.

240 pages | 25 halftones | 7 x 9 | © 2009

Literature and Literary Criticism: Dramatic Works

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"A valuable interpretive tool, providing much needed assistance in navigating the highly heterogeneous landscape of contemporary Russian theatre."—Slavonic and East European Review

Elena Siemens, University of Alberta | Slavonic and East European Review

Table of Contents


Note on Transliteration


Kirill Serebrennikov


Sasha Dugdale

Introduction: Contours and Contexts of New Drama


Chapter 1: Violence in Soviet and Post-Soviet Culture

Chapter 2: The Precursors of New Drama

Chapter 3: Theatre in the Ruins of Language


Chapter 4: Communicating through Violence: Kurochkin, Koliada, Sigarev, Kladiev

Chapter 5: Evgenii Grishkovets and Trauma

Chapter 6: Documentary Theatre

Chapter 7: Ivan Vyrypaev and the Abject

Chapter 8: The Presniakovs and Performing Violence



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