Performing war: 'military theatre' and the possibilities of resistance
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In Place of War (IPOW) (www.inplaceofwar.net) is a three and a half year Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) project exploring the context of performance in sites of war: theatre in refugee camps; in war-affected villages; in towns under curfew; in cities under siege. IPOW has been investigating a number of war zone case studies, including Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Northern Ireland, Palestine-Israel, and the Balkans. In this paper I would like to discuss the distinction between propaganda theatre and performance as 'resistance' using an example of 'military theatre' practice from Kosovo. I will argue that the categorisation of performance practice (particularly in post war writing) as either 'resistance' or 'propaganda' needs to be considered with caution. The location of practice within these two categories is a deeply political and partisan act: one person's propaganda is another's theatre of resistance. Performance practice in a war zone occupies, borrowing from Levi, a 'grey zone', one in which it may be neither good nor evil, neither free of ideology, nor completely evacuated of humanising properties.
Permission received for self archiving purposes Associate Professor Edward Scheer Editor, Performance Paradigm