‘this… this… thing’: The Endgame project, corporeal difference, and the ethics of witnessing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This essay examines a remarkable 2012 production of Endgame (‘the Endgame project’) starring Dan Moran and Chris Jones, longtime New York actors who both live with Parkinson's disease. Rejecting the limiting assumptions imposed upon them by their profession (and the critical tendency to assimilate the disabled body to philosophical abstraction), the actors drew the attention of their audience to corporeal difference as a nexus of observation, contemplation, and appreciation in the theater. But this is not to say that the production somehow arrested the oscillation between affirmation and negation that defines the discursive structures of the play. Rather, it is argued here, the Endgame project enters into this textual uncertainty to highlight precisely those issues that have too often been absented or occluded in critical responses to the play: the ethical difficulties of giving witness to suffering, the problems of disentangling compassion and oppression, the matters of valuing and regulating the body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-127
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Beckett Studies
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

Keywords

  • Disability studies
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Performance studies
  • The body
  • Witnessing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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