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Remembering the Maze: History and memory in Armand Gatti’s 1982 plays Le Labyrinthe and Le Labyrinthe tel qu’il a été écrit par les habitants de Derry

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Upton, Carole-Anne (2010) Remembering the Maze: History and memory in Armand Gatti’s 1982 plays Le Labyrinthe and Le Labyrinthe tel qu’il a été écrit par les habitants de Derry. In: Histoire et Memoire en France et en Irlande/History and memory in France and in Ireland. Association of Franco-Irish Studies (AFIS) Annual Conference/Colloque International, Universite de Reims Champagne-Ardenne. na. [Conference contribution]

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Abstract

During a period of self-imposed exile in Northern Ireland in the early nineteen eighties, Armand Gatti wrote at least three versions of a play addressing the history of the experiences of the republican hunger strikers in HM Prison The Maze (also known as ‘Long Kesh’), which he called Le Labyrinthe and Le Labyrinthe tel qu’il a été écrit par les habitants de Derry. A third version was written for a solo performer and may be lost. The Maze plays experiment with dramaturgical techniques of challenging hegemonic narratives of history, notably through the use of ‘le selmaire’. They address in particular the impossibility of adequately representing the experience of hunger strikes through drama, and mobilize key questions concerning the construction of history, authenticity and performance. They have never been performed in Ireland or translated into English, despite being based on Gatti’s first-hand collaborations during a period of residency at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast and work in Derry and Donegal. Gatti’s scripts are contextualised by a series of published essays, interviews and reflections of his work in Ulster, and limited critical attention has been paid to this body of work to date.This paper explores the theatrical articulation of a relationship between memory and history in Gatti’s Maze plays, and in particular the ideological constructions of alternative histories of the neglected and overlooked that are proposed through these theatre works.In anticipation of a possible translation and presentation of the work in English, it further reflects on the conditions for reception of the pieces in Derry in 2010, in the context of other retrospective documentary and quasi-documentary memorialising works.

Item Type:Conference contribution (Paper)
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Arts
Faculty of Arts > School of Creative Arts and Technologies
Research Institutes and Groups:Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Arts and Humanities Research Institute > Creative Arts and Technologies
ID Code:16395
Deposited By:Professor Carole-Anne Upton
Deposited On:03 Jan 2011 14:47
Last Modified:05 Jul 2011 14:42

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