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Locating the Impolitical in American Theatre: Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Schechner’s Dionysus in 69

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 April 2022

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This article examines the meaning of the ‘impolitical’ regarding cases of impolitical theatre and associated critical discourse, with reference to Rodolfo Usigli and Raymond Williams, among others. It is argued that ‘impolitical’ theatre represents social relations from the standpoint of the ideal of culture. The analysis starts with Richard Schechner’s critique of the original Broadway production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and discusses this play, segueing into The Performance Group’s Dionysus in 69. The author indicates the differences of theatre practice between the examples chosen, and shows that these theatres nevertheless participate in the same form of theatrical representation as they broach similar social questions of moment in the Unites States in the 1960s. John Yves Pinder has recently received his PhD from the University of Leeds. He is currently teaching at Leuphana University of Lüneberg.

Research Article
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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press