Holocaust Drama Imagined and Re-imagined: The Case of Charlotte Delbo’s Who Will Carry the Word?
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Although she had already written extensively about her Holocaust experience through poetry and prose, Charlotte Delbo’s 1966 Qui Rapportera Ces Paroles? (Who Will Carry the Word? 1982) was her first published Holocaust drama. First performed in 1974, the play provides a powerful example of a landscape overrun with images of bodily waste and human remains—consequences emerging from sites of violence, putrefaction, and death. The drama revolves around the need to bear witness in a debilitating universe that is eroding the bodies of witnesses. The imagery of decomposition is transgressive by its very nature, displaying the unabridged realities of the Holocaust within an aesthetics of atrocity. This chapter examines how several productions of the play, over time, have been challenged by the playwright’s requirement to represent a complex layering of Holocaust memory against a background of eroding figures.
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