• Dr. Kavitha Gopalakrishnan Assistant Professor, Department of English, Baselius College, Kottayam


Liminal, post-drama


Anthony Nielson’s Realism is concerned with the tension between the mindscape and the physical world we live in. Neilson’s fascination with the hybridity of locations — physical and imaginative — gives us ample possibilities to delve into the liminal spaces of the mind of the protagonist. The unique strategies that he devises to theatrically represent the internal landscape of his protagonists could be seen as extensions of the insights offered by Hans-Thies Lehmann in his influential study Postdramatic Theatre. The emancipation of the performance from the literary text, being the central concern of the postdramatic has an almost total disregard for traditional dramatic unity textual both at the textual and performative levels. Examining how Neilson uses various techniques to make the viewers think whether they are in the interiorscape or in waking reality is the purpose of this paper. Interpreting performances such as Realism cannot straightforwardly be about decoding the meaning of theatrical signs as they are presented within the framework of the dramatic structure. Hence, this paper also aims to study Neilson’s heterotopian strategies in his innovative approach to mapping the liminal mindscape as well as to theatre-making. Staging the action played out in the mind challenges the representational potential of theatre itself, and demands that the page and the stage be turned into an innovative heterotopic space.


I. Foucault, Mishel. (1984). “Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias”. Architecture /Mouvement/ Continuité, p. 1-9 Translated from the French by Jay Miskowiec.

II. Grochala, Sarah. (2017). “Introduction” in The Contemporary Political Play: Rethinking Dramaturgical Structure. Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. pp. 1–24. Retrieved February 1, 2023.

III. Neilson, Anthony. (2011). Realism. Methuen Drama, U.K.

IV. Stuart Fisher, Amanda. (2020). “Germany and the pre-histories of contemporary verbatim theatre: Piscator, Hochhuth and Weiss”. Performing the Testimonial: Rethinking Verbatim Dramaturgies. Pages 29–58, online edn, Manchester Scholarship Online, 20 May 2021.

V. Reid, Trish. (2007). “Deformities of the Frame: The Theatre of Anthony Neilson”. Contemporary Theatre Review 17: 4, pp. 487—498.

Additional Files



How to Cite

Dr. Kavitha Gopalakrishnan. (2023). AT THE THRESHOLDS: EXPLORING LIMINAL TERRAINS AND TRANSITIONS IN ANTHONY NIELSON’S REALISM. International Education and Research Journal (IERJ), 9(5). Retrieved from