Docudrama Performs the Past begins where Real Emotional Logic ended, with
the new millennium's remarkable persistence of productions of feature films and
movies-of-the-week “based on true stories.” While this book, much in the vein of
Author: Steven N. Lipkin
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Category: Performing Arts
Docudramas, films and movies-of-the-week based on true stories, offer their audiences performance as persuasion. As docudramas re-create actual people and events, these works perform their material. The premises of docudramas’ persuasive arguments operate within the basic settings that stage performances of noteworthy events, the events of war, and the lives of noteworthy individuals. In performing the past, docudramas offer us a performance of memory. Through docudramatic performance, the memories of others become ours. The performance of memory roots docudramatic representation in actuality, and indicates the responsibility to serve the past that helps make docudrama a distinctive mode of representation. The spirit of obligation to the past also frames the ethical considerations docudrama raises, as performance in docudrama shapes public memory. Docudrama Performs the Past examines the spectrum of arguments docudramas offer as their re-creations reason from the arenas of events such as the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93, wars ranging from World War II to Iraq, and the lives of actors, athletes, and politicians. The case studies developed in each chapter show how docudrama’s re-creation of “true stories,” its performance of memory, warrants the claims it forwards about how to remember the past. The aggregate of examining works made since the late 1990s allows us to see how, as recurring contexts, the arenas of docudramatic argument ground action and identity in the settings that frame performance, structure the moral value of the contestation that ensues, and shape the public memory of the past that docudramas perform.