Published May 11, 2022
Congratulations to Associate Professor and Director of Theatre BA Meredith Conti, PhD, on the publication of her most recent book Theatre and the Macabre, co-edited with Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.
Per the book release, "The ‘macabre’, as a process and product, has been haunting the theatre – and more broadly, performance – for thousands of years. In its embodied meditations on death and dying, its thematic and aesthetic grotesquerie, and its sensory-rich environments, macabre theatre invites artists and audiences to trace the stranger, darker contours of human existence. In this volume, numerous scholars explore the morbid and gruesome onstage, from freak shows to the French Grand Guignol; from Hell Houses to German Trauerspiel; from immersive theatre to dark tourism, stopping along the way to look at phantoms, severed heads, dark rides, haunted mothers and haunting children, dances of death and dismembered bodies. From Japan to Australia to England to the United States, the global macabre is framed and juxtaposed to understand how the theatre brings us face to face with the deathly and the horrific."
Dr. Conti currently teaches Horror Theatre as a dramatic literature course for majors and graduate students, as well as Horror in Contemporary Theatre and Film: Identity, Culture, and Community as a freshman seminar (TH 199).
"Essentially, my research directly influences my teaching," Dr. Conti said. "It’s been exciting to learn about the macabre alongside UB students, who are incredibly astute in their observations of how theatrical horror intersects with notions of identity and culture."
The book has received great endorsements from established names in theatre and horror studies, including Lisa Morton, author of Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances, who enthused, "Horror onstage is too often considered a mere curiosity, rarely worthy of serious critical consideration. By presenting a wide range of pieces that incorporate history and region, as well as exploring those extraordinary places where literature, theatre, folklore and pop culture meet, Theatre and the Macabre succeeds in proving that the study of theatrical horror is tremendously valuable."
"Theatre and the Macabre is a must-read book for academics, history buffs, theatre professionals and students of the macabre, said Teel James Glenn, actor, director, fight choreographer and novelist. "The range of subjects covered and depths to which they are explored, literally from head to footlights, make this book an invaluable addition to any library."