Theater at the Margins: Text and the Post-Structured Stage investigates recent German and American texts in relation to contemporary critical theory. Focusing on the work of writers Kathy Acker, Frank Chin, Caryl Churchill, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Richard Foreman, Elaine Jackson, Cherrie Moraga, and Wallace Shawn, the book explains how these nontraditionalists challenge the presumptions of traditional dramatic writing and contribute to a unique theatrical sensibility.
The introduction to Theater at the Margins situates contemporary post-structuralist, ethnic, and feminist theory in relation to theater and the dramatic text, with specific reference to Derrida's concept of "the margin." Subsequent chapters apply this thinking to specific texts, including Pandering to the Masses; Garbage, The City and Death; The Chickencoop Chinaman; and Giving Up the Ghost. A concluding chapter summarizes these readings and suggests how they might be useful for theater practitioners.
The theoretical issues covered are central to both contemporary critical discourse and theatrical practice. By investigating the notion of "margins," of the places in which the dramatic text begins to unravel its ontotheological heritage, Erik MacDonald shows how the possibility for staging philosophy's "Other" emerges. He makes clear, however, that staging this Other is not simply a concern of philosophy; instead, he raises the possibility of a heterogeneous theater that would accentuate the historical and political background of a particular group while at the same time making room for competing voices. Theater at the Margins argues that this heterogeneity of texts could create a theater that would be responsive and responsible to a world no longer defined by a particular center.