Performing the Unnameable:

An Anthology of Australian Performance Texts

edited by Richard James Allen and Karen Pearlman

published by Currency Press and RealTime

"…a first in Australian publishing history and a priceless resource." (HEAT)

This anthology of Australian performance texts – the first to be assembled – sheds light on a range of practices in the groundbreaking area of performance. The texts, together with statements from the creating artists, illustrate by practical example and theoretical explanation, seventeen different relationships of writing and text to other performative media.

The book powerfully exhibits how performance can be a platform for new ways of writing and an area of literary invention and achievement. This unique anthology of largely undocumented work brings together texts by The Sydney Front, Jenny Kemp, Kooemba Jdarra, Tasdance/That Was Fast, Richard Murphet, Open City, Lyndal Jones, Margaret Cameron, Sidetrack Performance Group, Josephine Wilson and Erin Hefferon, Doppio Teatro, Kinetic Energy Theatre Company, Entr’Acte, Legs on the Wall, The Party Line, Ex-Stasis Theatre Collective and All Out Ensemble.

Spanning the period from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, this collection provides a rich resource for practitioners, teachers, students and audiences alike.

Order from Currency Press

Critical Praise for Performing the Unnameable 1999-2000

"This anthology is the talisman of years of discomfort in Australian live arts, the liminal phase in the 80s and 90s when everyone else was obsessing about product and audience. These texts remind us of two decades of brittle Australian genius. But there is no attempt to name the Australian effect, there is no attempt to elevate it. There is no competition of banal qualifiers. The texts themselves produce the effect." Edward Scheer HEAT

"Performing the Unnameable is a significant first – the first anthology of performance texts created by Australian performers, performance companies and writers…Besides, it’ll be a great read."    Keith Gallasch RealTime

"With its many photos and seriously hip design and layout, this A4 format text goes some real way towards recreating the mood of the performances."         Australian Higher Education Supplement

"… an invaluable publication, both as a collection of some of the fragments of performance that have altered the course of Australian theatre history over the past 20 years and as an indication of the ways in which the act of writing is being put to the service of new theatre forms."        Geoffrey Milne Eureka Street

"It is a fascinating study of a snippet of performance activity that occurred in between 1981 and 1999…in all Performing the Unnameable provides a good model for analysis of performance and writing."       Naomi Black Brolga

"…unique and rich…I recommend this anthology highly. It not only provides a rich resource for practictioners, teachers and students, but contains challenging and exciting material that will enhance your next visit to the theatre."      Donna Jacobs The Australian Jewish News

"…Performing the Unnameable is a book to dip into and enjoy over a long period of time. I’d recommend finding a quiet couple of hours to immerse yourself in the unique theatrical worlds created by artists and companies such as Entr’Acte, Jenny Kemp, Margaret Cameron, The Sydney Front and Sidetrack Performance Group."     Tony Mack Lowdown

"This is a remarkable achievement showing how performance can be a platform for new ways of writing and an area of literary invention and achievement. Challenging, rewarding, confronting but essential reading. Make sure you buy and read Performing the Unnameable."    Bill Simon Metaphor


Performing the Unnameable: An Anthology of Australian Performance Texts

from Currency Press

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