What Is Postmodern Theatre?

Many of the ideas of modernism are rejected in postmodern theatre, as in other postmodern art forms. According to modern theatre theories, artistic representations of life can provide access to universal truths. Postmodern theatre, on the other hand, rejects the notion of make-believe and views theatrical performance as a real-life event in which the audience takes part. Typical plot devices and character development are minimized. This type of theater is inspired history, culture, and social issues and embraces human experience in various forms. Stuff Happens David Hare is a good example of these concepts.

Aristotle proposed that drama could reveal universal truths, and modern theatre is based on his ideas to some extent. According to modern theatre theories, formal devices such as plot, cause and effect, and character development can be used to gain access to universal truths. However, depending on the point of view, there are many possible truths in postmodern theatre. Playwrights, actors, and members of the audience all contribute to the creative process.

The audience is forced to reconsider the boundaries between art and reality in postmodern theatre, which rejects the idea of theatre as a representation of life. Plays are meant to be events that are as much a part of life as any other. The outcome of a play may differ from one performance to the next. This can be unsettling for those who are accustomed to the neat development of plots and characters in drama.

According to modern theatre theories, an audience is something on which performers act. Audience members are participants in postmodern theatre, with actors and audience members frequently interacting and co-creating the theatrical experience. Furthermore, postmodern theatre theory recognizes that each person experiences theatre through the lens of his or her own unique feelings and life experiences, making it difficult to arrive at a single universal truth.

Culture, society, and history are all incorporated into postmodern theatre. Stuff Happens, a book about the Iraq war David Hare, exemplifies these principles. The National Theatre in London hosted the premiere of Stuff Happens on September 1, 2004. The play, which Hare refers to as a history play, is a documentary-style production that stars George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, among others. While much of the play is based on Hare’s imagination, he does incorporate some real-life media comments and speeches into the play’s dialogue.