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Nicholas Johnson
Assistant Professor, Drama

Biography

Nicholas E. Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Drama and a scholar-artist who convenes the college-wide Creative Arts Practice research theme. He is co-founder of the Samuel Beckett Laboratory, where the techniques of the theatre laboratory are used to produce cutting-edge research and practice in relation to Beckett in performance. A director, adaptor, and literary translator, Johnson has used techniques of performance in interdisciplinary research projects including "The David Fragments" after Bertolt Brecht, "Enemy of the Stars" after Wyndham Lewis, "The Machinewreckers" and "Masse Mensch" after Ernst Toller, "The Brothers Karamazov" after Fyodor Dostoevsky, "Howl" after Allen Ginsberg, "Three Dialogues" after George Berkeley, "K." (based on the short prose of Franz Kafka), and "The Way of the Language" (based on a large archive of non-fiction materials relating to Guantánamo Bay and post-9/11 America). His recent Beckett projects include "Cascando" with Pan Pan Theatre Company (Beckett Theatre 2016), "No's Knife" with Lisa Dwan (Lincoln Center 2015) and "Ill Seen Ill Said" (ATRL & Antwerp 2015-16). In 2012 he directed "Ethica: Four Shorts by Samuel Beckett," presenting "Play", "Come and Go", "Catastrophe", and "What Where" in Bulgaria, Dublin, the Enniskillen Festival 2013, and Áras an Uachtairáin for World Human Rights Day. He has contributed to "The Plays of Samuel Beckett" and "Staging Beckett in Ireland and Northern Ireland" (both from Methuen) as well as Theatre Research International, the Journal of Art Historiography, and Forum Modernes Theater. He co-edited the Journal of Beckett Studies special issue on performance (23.1, 2014) with Jonathan Heron. He has facilitated performance workshops worldwide, including most recently the US, UK, Germany, Turkey, India, Japan, Bulgaria, Morocco, Israel and the West Bank. He is a founding co-director of the Beckett Summer School at TCD. He won the Provost's Teaching Award (early career) in 2013, and in 2016 he held a visiting research fellowship at Yale University.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Jonathan Heron and Nicholas Johnson, Critical Pedagogies and the Theatre Laboratory, RIDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 22, (2), 2017, p282 - 287 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

Void Cannot Go: Trauma and Actor Process in the Theatre of Samuel Beckett in, editor(s)Mariko Hori Tanaka, Yoshiki Tajiri, Michiko Tsushima , Beckett and Trauma, Manchester, Manchester UP, 2017, [Nicholas Johnson] Book Chapter, 2017

Colm Summers (dir.), David O'Shaughnessy (dramaturge), 'Love a la Mode, after Macklin', KNAVES, World Premiere, Dublin, Smock Alley Theatre, 2017, - Theatre Production, 2017 URL

Nicholas Johnson, Performing Embodiment, Review of Performing Embodiment, by Anna McMullan , Journal of Beckett Studies, 25, (2), 2016, p280-284 Review, 2016 DOI

Samuel Beckett, 'Cascando', Pan Pan Theatre Company, World Premiere, Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity Creative Challenge, 2016, - Theatre Production, 2016 URL

"The Neatness of Identifications": Transgressing Beckett's Genres in Ireland and Northern Ireland, 2000-2015 in, editor(s)Trish McTighe and David Tucker , Staging Beckett in Ireland and Northern Ireland, London, Bloomsbury/Methuen, 2016, pp185 - 202, [Nicholas E. Johnson] Book Chapter, 2016 URL

Samuel Beckett, 'No's Knife: Excerpts from Texts for Nothing', White Light Festival, World Premiere, Marjorie S Dean Little Theatre, Lincoln Center, 2015, - Theatre Production, 2015 URL URL

Wyndham Lewis, 'Enemy of the Stars', Fez Festival of University Theatres, World Premiere, Dublin / Fez, Morocco, Fez Festival of University Theatres, 2015, - Theatre Production, 2015 URL URL URL

The Journal of Beckett Studies: Special Issue on Performance, 23, 1, (2014), Jonathan Heron and Nicholas Johnson, [eds.] Journal, 2014

A Theatre of the Unword: Censorship, Hegemony, and Samuel Beckett in, editor(s)Christopher Collins and Mary Collins , The Rest is History: Ireland, Memory and Performing the Historical Imagination, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, pp36 - 54, [Nicholas Johnson] Book Chapter, 2014

Nicholas Johnson and Brenda O'Connell, Three Dialogues on Enniskillen, The Beckett Circle, Spring 2014, 2014 Review Article, 2014 URL

Jonathan Heron and Nicholas Johnson, "First Both": Introduction to "the Performance Issue", Journal of Beckett Studies, 23, (1), 2014, p1 - 10 Journal Article, 2014 DOI

Jonathan Heron and Nicholas Johnson, with Burç Îdem Dinçel, Gavin Quinn, Sarah Jane Scaife, and Áine Josephine Tyrrell, Dossier: The Samuel Beckett Laboratory 2013, Journal of Beckett Studies, 23, (1), 2014, p73 - 94 Journal Article, 2014 DOI

Nicholas Johnson, Performative Criticism: Samuel Beckett and Georges Duthuit, Journal of Art Historiography, 9, (December), 2013, p1 - 12 Journal Article, 2013 URL TARA - Full Text

A Spectrum of Fidelity, an Ethic of Impossibility: Directing Beckett in, editor(s)Katherine Weiss , The Plays of Samuel Beckett (Critical Companions), London, Methuen, 2013, pp152 - 164, [Nicholas Johnson] Book Chapter, 2013

Nicholas Johnson, Language, Multiplicity, Void: The Radical Politics of the Beckettian Subject, Theatre Research International, 37, (1), 2012, p38 - 48 Journal Article, 2012 DOI

Nicholas Johnson, Theatrum Philosophicum: A Platonic Turn in Theatre Scholarship, Forum Modernes Theater, 25, (2), 2011, p59 - 64 Journal Article, 2011 URL

Nicholas Johnson, Beckett and Bolaño: Toward a European Literature of Exile, Irish Society for Theatre Research Annual Conference, Pécs, Hungary, 29-30 April, 2011 Conference Paper, 2011

Nicholas Johnson, The Ghost of the Live: Adapting the Televisual Beckett, Performance Studies International #17, Utrecht, Netherlands, 25-29 May, 2011 Conference Paper, 2011

Nicholas Johnson, A Theatre of the Unword: Out of the Archive, Out of the Archive: Samuel Beckett, York, United Kingdom, 23-26 June 2011, 2011 Conference Paper, 2011

Nicholas Johnson, Nohow On: Samuel Beckett and the Tradition/Innovation Dialectic, International Federation for Theatre Research Annual Congress, Osaka, Japan, 7-12 August 2011, 2011 Conference Paper, 2011

Nicholas Johnson, Analogue Krapp in a Digital Culture, Journal of Beckett Studies, 20, (2), 2011, p213 - 220 Review Article, 2011 DOI

Nicholas Johnson, Preacher Seeks Unconverted: Spectatorship in Documentary Theatre, Performance Studies International #16, Toronto, Canada, 9-13 June, 2010 Conference Paper, 2010

Nicholas Johnson, Beckett and the Radical Politics of the Modernist Subject, International Federation for Theatre Research Annual Congress, Munich, Germany, 26-31 July, 2010 Conference Paper, 2010

Nicholas Johnson, Prose Performance and the Commemoration of Samuel Beckett, Irish Society for Theatre Research Annual Conference, Sligo, Ireland, 7-9 May, 2009 Conference Paper, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, On Going On: The Ethic of Impossibility in the Performance of Samuel Beckett's Prose, Trinity College Dublin, 2009 Thesis, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, Theatre of the Unword: Beckett and the Law of Genre, International Federation for Theatre Research Annual Congress, Lisbon, Portugal, July 14-17, 2009 Conference Paper, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, Evental Texts and Textual Events, Zombomodernism: Practice as Research, Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 26 September, 2009 Conference Paper, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, Said Nohow On: Beckett, Genre, and the Law, Performance Studies International #15, Zagreb, Croatia, 24-28 June, 2009 Conference Paper, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, Reading, Radio and the Seanchaí, International Federation for Theatre Research Annual Congress, Seoul, Korea, 2008 Conference Paper, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, Age, Texture and the Virtual, Performance Studies International #14, Copenhagen, Denmark, 20-24 August, 2008 Conference Paper, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, That Book Should Be Burned: The Contested Afterlife of Bertolt Brecht, Journal of Postgraduate Research, 5, 2006, p8 - 19 Journal Article, 2006

Nicholas Johnson, The Ethic of Impossibility, Beckett and Death: A Centenary Conference, Northampton University, UK, September, 2006 Conference Paper, 2006

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Nicholas Johnson, 'The Brothers Karamazov', Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin, Painted Filly Theatre/Sugarglass Theatre, 2014, - Theatre Production, 2014 URL URL

Nicholas Johnson, The Many Nations of Samuel Beckett, Theatre (X) Cai, Tokyo, Programme, 2014, p7 - 8 Review Article, 2014

Nicholas Johnson, On Translating Ernst Toller's "Die Maschinenstürmer", Trinity Journal of Literary Translation, II, 2014, p76 - 91 Journal Article, 2014 URL

Ernst Toller, trans. & dir. Nicholas Johnson, 'The Machinewreckers', Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin, 2014, - Translation, 2014 URL URL URL

Nicholas Johnson, Out of the Dark: Pan Pan's "All That Fall" and "Embers", Edinburgh International Festival, Programme, 2013, p7 - 10 Review Article, 2013

Nicholas Johnson, A Samuel Beckett Laboratory: Praxis, Pedagogy, and Performance, Annual Samuel Beckett Lecture, Tel Aviv University, Israel, 22 May, 2013, Embassy of Ireland, Tel Aviv Invited Talk, 2013

Samuel Beckett, dir. Nicholas Johnson & Marc Atkinson, 'Ethica: Four Shorts by Samuel Beckett', Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin / National Academy of Theatre and Dance, Sofia, Bulgaria / Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival 2013 / Áras an Uachtaráin, Dublin, 2013, - Theatre Production, 2013 URL

Nicholas Johnson, Theatre of the Unword: Censorship, Hegemony, and Samuel Beckett, One Day: Samuel Beckett, Haccetepe University, Ankara, Turkey, 29 November, 2013, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland Invited Talk, 2013

Jesse Weaver, dir. by Nicholas Johnson & Jesse Weaver, 'Bypass', Dublin Fringe Festival 2012, 2012, - Theatre Production, 2012 URL

Nicholas Johnson, Language, Multiplicity, Void: Beckett and Philosophy, Beckett and Philosophy, Sofia University, Bulgaria, 21 October 2011, 2011, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland Invited Talk, 2011

Ray Langenbach & Nicholas Johnson, Studio: 2011, 25-29 May 2011, In:Performance Studies International, Artist's Committee, 2011, Utrecht, Netherlands Meetings /Conferences Organised, 2011 URL

Nicholas Johnson, Krapp History: A Late Evening in the Future, The Rest is History: Symposium, Trinity College Dublin, 15-16 April, edited by C. Collins & M. Caulfield , 2011 Conference Paper, 2011

Steve Wilmer, Sam Slote, and Nicholas Johnson, Samuel Beckett Summer School 2011, 15-20 July 2011, 2011, Trinity College Dublin Meetings /Conferences Organised, 2011 URL

Nicholas Johnson, Language, Multiplicity, Void: The Radical Politics of the Modernist Subject, Mainz Doctoral Summer School, Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz, 9 July 2010, 2010, DAAD/Mainz University Invited Talk, 2010

Max Frisch, trans. and dir. Nicholas Johnson, 'Andorra', Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin, 2010, - Translation, 2010

Nicholas Johnson, Matthew Causey, Abstract Machines: The Televisual Beckett, Irish Society for Theatre Research Annual Conference, Trinity College Dublin, 24 April, 2010, ATRL, Dublin Invited Talk, 2010

Melissa Sihra & the Drama Department Staff, Technologies of Performance: ISTR 2010, April, In:Irish Society for Theatre Research Annual Conference, 2010, Trinity College Dublin Meetings /Conferences Organised, 2010

Nicholas Johnson, The Way of the Language: Excavating Silence in the Documentary Theatre, Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre, Cairo, Egypt, 9 October 2009, 2009, Ministry of Culture, Government of Egypt Invited Talk, 2009

Nicholas Johnson, Unfrozen Music: Beckett in the Museum, Museum Ireland, 19, (Autumn), 2009, p36 - 41 Journal Article, 2009 URL

Franz Kafka, trans. and dir. Nicholas Johnson, 'K. - Stories and Fragments by Franz Kafka', Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin, 2009, - Translation, 2009

Ernst Toller, trans. & dir. Nicholas Johnson, 'Masses and Man', Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin / Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxembourg-Platz, Berlin, 2008, - Translation, 2008 URL

Nicholas Johnson, Beckett Centenary Symposium, Dublin, The Beckett Circle, 29, (2), 2006, p4 - 7 Review Article, 2006

Research Expertise

Description

Predominantly to date, Nicholas Johnson has published as a Samuel Beckett scholar, as well as co-founding a performance laboratory with Jonathan Heron and co-founding the Samuel Beckett Summer School. His publications in this area have related to adaptations and inter-medial performances of Beckett, directing and acting Beckett, Beckett and censorship, and the use of performance as a tool for research. He co-edited the Journal of Beckett Studies special issue on performance, and his first monograph (forthcoming) is on the history and theory of performances of Beckett's prose. A secondary research interest, and the topic of a second monograph now in progress, relates to how theatre laboratory work can generate new knowledge for more interdisciplinary contexts in a wide range of fields. Johnson has undertaken numerous practice-based projects since 2008, including collaborations with literature scholars, art historians, educators, translators, sociologists, historians, computer scientists, and medical clinicians in which performance has played a crucial role. As head of the Creative Arts Practice college-wide research theme, and as committee member of the Medical and Health Humanities Initiative at TCD, Johnson's research is extending the role of theatre and performance in these alternative settings. Johnson is a literary translator (from German), with current and past projects on Toller, Kafka, Frisch, Trakl, and Brecht. These translation projects signal a further research interest in German Expressionism during the Weimar period, and more widely in modernism in the twentieth century.

Keywords

American theatre, playwriting; Dramatic/Theatre Arts; Modern and contemporary German drama and theatre; Political theatre; Samuel Beckett; Theatre Practice