Heroes with Their Hands in the Air: Memory and Commemoration in the Contemporary Documentary Theater

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/

Abstract

Documentary theatre has the capacity to confront and challenge its audience; however, there are occasions when examples from the genre avoid confrontation. These examples might not promote ideas consistent with the political status quo; neither, however, do they challenge it. This paper examines the ability of documentary theatre to move between two extremes: of challenging dominant power structures, or reinforcing the political or social status quo. It contrasts two documentary theatre performances that both took place on the fringes of mainstream theatre production, and which both explore the same social event: Bloody Sunday and the Saville Inquiry.  In doing so, the article asks if Norton-Taylor’s Bloody Sunday: Scenes from the Saville Inquiry and Brady’s Heroes with Their Hands in the Air provide examples of documentary theatre as a forum for critical engagement or as a means to elicit unchallenging emotional responses from an audience.

Keywords

Bloody Sunday, Northern Ireland, theatre of testimony, memory, commemoration

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Professor
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faruk
Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)