Ghosts and Hauntology in Theatre and Performance (DRA3093)

30 credits

Recently, there has been much discussion amongst scholars about the ghostly quality of the theatre. The idea of the ghost is much more than mere superstition; it is history itself as a conceptual framework. Ghosts are what performances evaporate and transform into in the mind’s eye as images of the theater merge with our thoughts and transform us as subjects-in-process. While human beings may never be able to prove the existence of life after death, we can argue—without a doubt—that ghosts have always been a key element of theatre history and performance studies: ghosts of performance, ghosts of ideas, and ‘actual’ theatre ghosts like Sarah MacCready who haunts the Bristol Old Vic.

In this module we will build a taxonomy of hauntology in theatre by working in four key categories: plays with ghosts in them, production history reconstruction (plays as ghosts), and ideas as ghosts (hauntology, ontology and the Socratic tradition), and finally, theatre ghosts who are ‘witnessed’ in the heritage industry via tourism.