In describing the power of Christian Marclay’s The Clock, Daniel Zalewski has written, “By presenting a day in the life as a ceaseless parade of fictional narratives, [Marclay] had confirmed Joan Didion’s dictum that ‘we tell ourselves stories in order to live’ while reminding us that we are all going to die.” Appropriately enough, the final chapter of this study explores Anne Washburn’s musical drama Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, which premiered in 2012, about a group of survivors of the fall of civilization recreating episodes of the long-running animated Fox television series The Simpsons. The play engages not only television but also film, music, theater, and popular culture in general, leveling the playing field of sources and adaptations in a post-apocalyptic setting. While it argues for the dire necessity of retelling stories in times of trauma, Mr. Burns avoids the fatalism implied in Zalewski’s comment; instead, the play imagines stories, including reframed ones, as creative forces that look forward instead of backward. Washburn’s play suggests the vital role adaptation can play in crafting a future in which our real and imagined worlds merge.
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- Cape Fear, The Simpsons, and Anne Washburn’s Post-Apocalyptic Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play
- Palgrave Macmillan UK