From Antigone to Antonia: Moving beyond the teleological model of tragedy for young audiences

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Alongside the rich tradition of international tragic adaptation for adult and general audiences, adaptations of tragedy for youth have proliferated around the world in the last several decades. As reaction to these works and to other representations of bad acts for and by young people demonstrate, these plays, which often feature murder, suicide, betrayal, martyrdom, and moral decay, present a substantial challenge to the conventions of appropriateness Manon van de Water cites as central to much contemporary TFY production. Yet adaptations of tragedy for youth must also grapple with a teleological ethics that treats tragedy largely as a means to a developmental end rather than an aesthetic experience in and of itself, presenting a substantial challenge for playwrights interested in producing vital and complex tragedy for young audiences. In this article, I survey trends in global tragedy for young audiences in order to outline an alternative vision of tragedy for young audiences which treats young audiences not as raw material to be molded into the practice of a particular model of goodness but as an end in themselves, outlining an ethics of artistry rather than an ethics of artistic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-110
Number of pages11
JournalYouth Theatre Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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