The images of the chaos at the Democratic National Convention of 1968 have become iconic representations of the turmoil of the 1960s in our nation’s collective memory. However, not many people think of those turbulent events in terms of theatre. In this episode, Dr. Susanne Shawyer of Elon University discusses her research (a version of which will appear next year in the book Performance in a Militarized Culture) and looks at the “Battle of Michigan Avenue” through the lens of Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, showing how the protests staged by groups such as the Yippies were meant to create an impromptu performance that would lead to social change.
- Read reporter Haynes Johnson’s account of the chaos in this 2013 article from Smithsonian.
- Learn more about the LBJ Presidential Library, which was a crucial resource for Dr. Shawyer’s research.
- Find out more about Antonin Artaud in this 1996 article from the Chicago Tribune.