Memory and History in Israeli Post-Apocalyptic Theatre Zahava Caspi

Prof. Zahava Caspi


Past catastrophes function as primary models for apocalyptic dystopias and as catalysts of imagined retrospection. Their function as paradigms of memory enables them to shed a sobering light on contemporary dangers as well as to trigger desirable change. The relation between memory, history, and post-apocalyptic theatre should therefore be examined with a view not only to the circumstances that give rise to such theatre, but also to the meanings that emerge from the catastrophic historical episodes which function as paradigms of memory. In the following article I shall discuss two Israeli dystopian plays, Joshua Sobol’s The Jerusalem Syndrome (1987) and Shimon Buzaglo’s Black Rain (2007), and their performances in Israeli theatre. I will examine the efficacy of apocalyptic theatre rooted in historical memory, by activating new forms of Theatre (Sobol: Polydrama; Buzaglo: Theatre as a Testimonial Medium) relative to other avenues of historical commemoration, in averting future dangers rooted in a deficient present.

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