The connection between crisis, identity, and criticism, I argue, plays an important role in the theatre of Bertolt Brecht. As a "theatre of a-identity" (Müller-Schöll 2002), it is constantly on the threshold of identity and crisis, it both negotiates and criticizes their interaction and interdependence.

Brecht's theatre confronts both the language and the means of the theatre with their possibilities and limitations in the light of their potential to constitute identity, thus placing them in permanent modes of crisis, i. e. they are involved in contradictions, paradoxes, and ambiguities and–not least–staged as a practice of criticism.

Galy Gay from the early play Man Equals Man, I argue, is the theatrical setting and answer to the question of how "desubjugation" and "desubjectification" (cf. Butler, Foucault) can be set in motion, and to this extent, a literary figure, who anticipates a large amount of later (critical) social and cultural theory avant la lettre, and literally breathes life into Foucault's description of criticism as "art".

Desubjugation and desubjectification, understood as the form and practice of liberating the subject, are accompanied by de-identification in a radical sense, which can provide answers–not just historically, but also within contemporary discourses–to the question of what theatre as criticism could mean in general and in particular in the present day.


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