“Revolving It All”: Weaves of Memory in Amadeus and Footfalls

  • Teemu Paavolainen
Part of the Performance Philosophy book series (PPH)


The only chapter to engage with specific plays or performances at any length, Thread 4 zooms in on the fine textures of dramaturgy in performance, on the unlikely coupling of Samuel Beckett’s Footfalls (1976) and Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus (1979). Formally akin in staging a monological but widely textured weaving of memory, the two exemplify not only the theatrical tendencies to emptiness and excess, but also the dynamics of performativity, both aesthetically (Beckettian repetition) and thematically (novelty and normativity in the guise of genius and mediocrity). Apart from the texts themselves, the chapter addresses some habitual patterns of criticism—often dismissing Shaffer’s theatricality while embracing Beckett’s—and such staples of the theatrical as witnessing, narration, and the play within the play. The theoretical argument is for an easy intertwining between the there of performative absorption and the aside of theatrical distance: the first person and the third, the memory and the monologue.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teemu Paavolainen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TampereTampereFinland

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