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Beginning with András Visky’s seminal essay “In Search of a Lost Reality,” this article uncovers important insights for a 21st century understanding of theatre’s role in human culture. Moving from Visky’s essay to his Juliet and another play by Pamela Gien’s The Syringa Tree, this article locates the features of drama which correspond to Visky’s dramaturgy, and bids us understand some ethical implications of theatre. These ethics spring directly from the use of absurdist language, gesture, and the hope for theatre’s role in allowing communities to respond to violence, both political and personal. A comparison to Gien demonstrates that Visky’s dramatic approach is applicable even to plays which may, in their textual presentation, appear very different from Visky’s own, suggesting that the task of theatre envisioned by Visky applies beyond Visky’s own oeuvre. Whereas Visky as a dramaturg invites and calls actors to use gesture as a tool for enacting the ethic of theatre, Gien implies an agreement with Visky not only in her staged collaborations, but also in the textual directions for gesture which she provides in the play script itself. The comparison reveals theatre as a site for audience members to re-examine traumas within their own cultural memory and practice, whilst avoiding the worst tendencies of conscious self-victimisation. Finally, the essay briefly points to new work in the cognitive humanities which corroborates Visky’s stated aims and solidifies the claim that Visky’s theatrical ethic helps to deepen our understanding of theatre as a site of historical and political catharsis.