This essay examines the role of performance practices in the making of colonial history through an analysis of the first French-language theater piece staged in the New World, Marc Lescarbot's Théâtre de Neptune (1606). The form of performance in this work offers a radically different way of crafting and engaging with history, simultaneously “restoring” the past via reenactment in the present and implying the possibility of future reiterations. Lescarbot's script presents a useful case study of performance's challenges to more traditional configurations of literary and cultural history.

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