A new wave of innovative, experimental plays is taking the stage in New York, pushing the boundaries of traditional theatre. These productions, described as “postdramatic,” are redefining the norms of narrative, character, and text. They often incorporate multimedia elements, audience participation, and non-linear storytelling techniques.

The term “postdramatic” was coined by German theatre scholar Hans-Thies Lehmann in 1999, and it refers to productions that break away from classic dramatic structure. Instead of focusing on a script, these plays emphasise the physical and visual aspects of performance. They may include dance, video projections, soundscapes, and even elements of performance art.

The Wooster Group, a pioneering theatre company, has been at the forefront of this movement. Their productions often feature fragmented narratives, video footage, and live music. Another company, Elevator Repair Service, has gained acclaim for their unique adaptations of classic literature, such as “Gatz,” a word-for-word staging of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”

While postdramatic theatre is not universally embraced, it is undeniably making waves in the New York theatre scene. Critics argue that it can be difficult for audiences to engage with, but proponents believe it offers a fresh perspective and a new way to experience theatre. Regardless of opinions, this innovative style is challenging the status quo and reshaping the landscape of contemporary theatre.

Go to source article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/arts/10innovative.html?_r=3&hpw&