Court Theatre : Gloss

Court Theatre

I — After another trial has failed, in the midst of mass outrage, I read Petra’s text again, buffeted in analysis. A lawyer grilled on the news: polarizing tempest.
“Was the performance in line with or a departure
from what you experienced?”
Bewildered, survival carries a paradox: “he does not care” versus the violation, the performance, the detail, the injury over time, over an ensemble of times, over an ensemble of iterations.
Testimony is not one act (against assumed impunity),
It is all increments:
the legal report,
the repeating detail,
the scrutiny,
“Body I do not know” recounts visceral, hair-on-end memory. Dredged memory. Betrayed care. A prevalence of abuse. A reel. Telephone chains, surviving, a language.
II — A costume of professional justice: heels and ties. Sprung embodiments. A small code, a lever against the weight of harm, this mnemonic storm.
Hair on end,
Unwilling repetition.
The cast, the code of figures, the license, the act, the score, the sequence.
Nested in tender enchainments: scenarios of court and theatre, performance and role, decentering “the.” Always.
III — A remember of swatted sensation, liquid rise, the foreground of the felt—the lengthening, repeating dialogue of tides, forces, and fleshy time.
Here an imagined theatre extends a circle of support and confidence, lifting a norm of silence. Performatively and in community, it challenges a siloing of the law to act and the theatre as a hollowing. With testifier’s labor, it circulates the entanglement of words, art and body, the court and theatre, in words dredged with bruises.

About the Author

VK Preston is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Theatre, Drama, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. She writes on performance, politics, historiography, witchcraft, and dance. Her work appears in TDR / The Drama Review, The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theatre, L'Annuaire théâtral, TheatreForum, and History, Memory, Performance.