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Epic Performances from the Middle Ages into the Twenty-First Century$
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Fiona Macintosh, Justine McConnell, Stephen Harrison, and Claire Kenward

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198804215

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198804215.001.0001

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‘Epic’ Performances

‘Epic’ Performances

From Brecht to Homer and Back

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 ‘Epic’ Performances
Source:
Epic Performances from the Middle Ages into the Twenty-First Century
Author(s):

Fiona Macintosh

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198804215.003.0001

This opening chapter explores what identifying ‘epic’ in performance entails. This is essential given Brecht’s avowedly anti-Aristotelian ‘Epic Theatre’, which is for the most part very far from what the editors and most of the contributors to this volume understand by ‘epic performances’. This general introduction also examines what an ‘epic’ source means—in broad terms a long narrative hexameter poem, composed in either Greek or Latin—and will explore exactly how mediated that source can be before it ceases to be an ancient ‘epic’ source. It also begins to ask how one might account for the recent ‘epic turn’ in performance. It ends with a discussion of certain recurrent formal elements in the epic performances under discussion in the volume and concludes that there are more overlaps with Brecht’s ‘Epic Theatre’ than might have initially been imagined.

Keywords:   Epic Theatre, Aristotle, Brecht, Verfremdung, epic form, dramatized epic, source-spotting, Peter Brook, Tim Supple, Marina Carr’s Hecuba

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