Drawing on Robin Bernstein’s theory of “scriptive things” in Racial Innocence, this essay interrogates Diana Taylor’s distinction, in The Archive and the Repertoire, between the objects and texts of history and the embodied practices of memory. Two recent productions from the German theatre—Rimini Protokoll’s 50 Aktenkilometer (50 kilometers of dossiers) and Hans-Werner Kroesinger’s Vermauern (To wall up)—show how performance can productively engage attributes assigned to the archive and the repertoire. In contrast to the narratives of German reunification in Berlin’s museums and memorials, also examined in the essay, the works by Rimini Protokoll and Kroesinger encourage a critical attitude toward the past. The productions use the objects and documents of museums and archives as scriptive things to be consciously re-performed or resisted; thereby, Rimini Protokoll and Kroesinger work to grant agency to their audiences, encouraging participants to interpret the scripts presented to them. Although the productions discussed belong to the distinctly post-reunification German sphere, the methods of examining how performances utilize the “scriptive past” can be applied more generally to other national and cultural contexts.


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pp. 63-82
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