Jean Genet: Politics and Performance (review)


In the Introduction to this collection of essays, the editors argue that Anglo-American culture has paid little attention to Genet’s performance work since the 1970s. There have been only two full-length studies of Genet’s theater published in English since 1990 (I wrote one of them, while Brian Kennelly’s book on Genet’s posthumously published plays is the other), and there have been no major stagings of his plays in Britain or the United States since 1989. Meanwhile, Genet’s popularity has increased worldwide, demonstrated by productions of his plays in venues as diverse as Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, and Lebanon. The editors of this volume seek to reexamine Genet’s plays as sites where politics and metaphysics merge, to draw attention to his multidisciplinary artistic contributions (drama, film, and dance), and to emphasize his contributions to contemporary avant-garde performance practice. This collection of twenty essays and interviews with directors who have staged Genet’s plays is divided into six parts: “Setting the Stage,” “Politics and Performance,” “Genet and Experimental Performance,” “Key Productions,” “Genet: Cinema and Dance,” and “Performing Genet.”

Read Article On Muse