The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics is a volume of critical essays, provocations, and interventions on the most important questions faced by today's writers, critics, audiences, and theatre and performance makers. Featuring texts written by scholars and artists who are diversely situated (geographically, culturally, politically, and institutionally), its multiple perspectives broadly address the question "How can we be political now?"
To respond to this question, Peter Eckersall and Helena Grehan have created eight galvanising themes as frameworks or rubrics to rethink the critical, creative, and activist perspectives on questions of politics and theatre. Each theme is linked to a set of guiding keywords:
Post (post consensus, post-Brexit, post-Fukushima, post-neoliberalism, post-humanism, post-global financial crisis, post-acting, the real)
Assembly (assemblage, disappearance, permission, community, citizen, protest, refugee)
Gap (who is in and out, what can be seen/heard/funded/allowed)
Institution (visibility/darkness, inclusion, rules)
Machine (biodata, surveillance economy, mediatisation)
Message (performance and conviction, didacticism, propaganda)
End (suffering, stasis, collapse, entropy)
Re. (reset, rescale, reanimate, reimagine, replay: how to bring complexity back into the public arena, how art can help to do this).
These themes were developed in conversation with key thinkers and artists in the field, and the resulting texts engage with artistic works across a range of modes including traditional theatre, contemporary performance, public protest events, activism, and community and participatory theatre.
Suitable for academics, performance makers, and students, The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics explores questions of how to be political in the early 21st century, by exploring how theatre and performance might provoke, unsettle, reinforce, or productively destabilise the status quo.
Peter Eckersall is Professor of Theatre at the Graduate Centre, CUNY, and Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Recent publications include New Media Dramaturgy (with Edward Scheer and Helena Grehan, 2017) and The Dumb Type Reader (with Edward Scheer and Fujii Shintaro, 2017).
Helena Grehan is Professor of Creative Arts at Murdoch University. She writes on performance and politics, spectatorship and ethics, and new media dramaturgy. Her most recent books are New Media Dramaturgy (with Edward Scheer and Peter Eckersall, 2017) and William Yang: Stories of Love and Death (with Edward Scheer).
List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors
1. A Dramaturgy of Cultural Activism
Helena Grehan and Peter Eckersall
PART I: POST
2. Reflections Upon the `Post': Towards a Cultural History and a Performance-Oriented Perspective
3. Post-Dictatorship Chilean Theatre and the Political Imperative: Ictus' Esto (no) es un testamento
Jennifer Joan Thompson
4. After the Referendum: When the Theatre Tries to do `Something'
5. Arab Political Theatre Post-Arab Spring
6. Queer Politics/Nostalgia: Performing the UpStairs Lounge Fire of 1973
Sean F. Edgecomb
7. Contemporary Theatre, the Contemporary, and Historicity
C. J. W.-L. Wee
8. The vita perfumativa and Post-dramatic, Post-conceptual Personae
9. Post-98 Indonesian Theatre and Performance: Politics Between a war of Loudness and the Dramaturgy of a Silencer
10. The Theatre of Posthuman Immunity
11. Revolutionary Trends at the South African National Arts Festival
12. The Cultural and Political Impact of Post-migrant Theatre in Germany
13. Staging Post-Democracy in State 1-4 by Rimini Protokoll
14. Parsing the Post: The Post-Political and its Utility (or not) for Performance
PART II: ASSEMBLY
15. Hosts of Angels: Climate Guardians and Quiet Activism
16. Reflecting upon Freedom with Meiro Koizumi
17. An Assembly of Mourning: Documentary Theatre as a Mode Alternative Historiography
18. Assembly as Community: Politics and Performance in Late 20th- and Early 21st-Century Buenos Aires
19. Advocacy, Allies, and `Allies of Convenience' in Performance and Performative Protest
20. From Revolution to Figuration: A Genealogy of Philippine Protest Performances
Sir Anril Pineda Tiatco and Bryan Levina Viray.
21. The Politics of Care: Play, Stillness and Social Presence.
22. Assembling Non-Presence in The Aborigine is Present
23. 100% Tokyo (2013) by Rimini Protokoll as a Political Forum by Emancipated Performers and Audience Members
24. Lessons in Revolting: A Postdramatic Theatre in Egypt
25. Obscene Public Speech
PART III: GAP
26. Dogwhistle Performance: Concealing White Supremacy in Right-wing Populism
27. Arkadas Kalabilir miyiz?/Can we remain friends? A Reflection on the Politics of Land, Performance and Friendship
28. The Construction of Material Referentiality in Chilean Theatre: Los que van quedando en el camino (2010)
Milena Grass Kleiner
29. To Rest in the Gap: Possibilities for Another Politics through Theatre
Jazmin Badong Llana
30. `You are Bernarda': Marginalised Roma Women Take on the Main Spanish Stages
31. Dancing in the Gap
32. Touring San Francisco's Chinatown: Collective Memories and Peripatetic Performance
Sean Metzger and Marike Splint
33. `It's Just Not Right': Performing Homelessness in Kalisolaite `Uhila's Mo'ui Tukuhausia
34. `Resisting Production': The Slow Politics of Theatre
35. The Speculative Collectivity of the Global Transnational, or, Social Practice and the International Division of Labour
36. Acts of Collaboration and Disruption: Notes on the Asylum Ballet Uropa
PART IV: INSTITUTION
37. The Power of Abuse
38. Institutional Aesthetics and the Crisis of Leadership
39. The Politics of Teaching Theatre
40. Going Feral: Queerly De-Domesticating the Institution (and Running Wild)
41. Artists versus the City: The Curious Story of the Jakarta Arts Council 1968-2017
42. Festival Dramaturgy
Ong Keng Sen
43. `100-Days House': Blackout as Political Action
44. The Performative Institution
45. Punishment and Chaos
PART V: MACHINE
46. Maria Lucia Cruz Correia's Urban Action Clinic GARDEN: A Political Ecology with Diplomats of Dissensus and Composite Bodies Engaged in Intra-Action
47. Docile Subjects: From Theatres of Automata to the Machinery of Twenty-first-century Media
48. The Human Object in Oriza Hirata's I, Worker and Sayonara
49. Clarke and Dawe's Mock Interviews and the Politics of Duration
50. Exposing the Machinic Present: Rimini Protokoll's Theatre of Operations
51. Performances of Exposure: Santiago Sierra's Ethical Interruptions
Gabriella Calchi Novati
Kristof van Baarle
53. Performance in the Biosphere: or, a Theatre of Things
PART VI: MESSAGE
54. How does the Riot Speak?
55. The Hopeless Courage of Confronting Contemporary Realities: Milo Rau's `Globally Conceived Theatre of Humanity'
Peter M. Boenisch
56. Ibsen as Method: Critical Theatre for the Era of Post-Truth Politics
57. Facing Fear: the Radical Reversal of Narratives of Risk
58. Form and Violence: Beyond Theatrical Content
59. The Message is Maori: The Politics of Haka in Performance
60. A Theatre of the Middle Way: Buddhism, Convictions, and Social Engagement in Burma/Myanmar
61. Contemporary Chilean Political Theatre between Opacity and Propaganda: the Case of Colectivo Zoologico's Dark
62. Flanerie of the Mind: Beyene Haile's Asmara Play as a Dramaturgy of the Street
63. Acting on Behalf of Themselves: the Theatrical Politics of Child's Play
PART VII: END
64. End and Interval
65. `Stage Managing' Ruins in Lebanon's Borderlands
66. Striving, Falling, Performing: Phenomenologies of Mood and Apocalypse
67. Plastic Animals in Praxes of Metamorphosis
68. Against Staging Apocalyptic Disasters with Butoh Dance: Ohno Yoshito's Flower and Bird/Inside and Outside
69. Theatre and Eschatological Politics
70. Holstein's hair: The Politics of Decadence in The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein's Splat!
71. Performance as Infrastructure and Institutional Unlearnings
72. Radically Dead Art in the Beautiful End Times
PART VIII: RE
73. A Chinese Catastrophe? The Moving Target of Political Theatre
74. Preserved by Permafrost: Reanimating and Reimagining Complexity in Canada's Klondike Gold Rush
75. The Situated Performative: Considering the Politics of the Pause in Performance
76. Between Resistance and Consensus: The Mercurial Dramaturgy of The Necessary Stage
Melissa Wansin Wong
77. Open Platforms for Dialogue and Difference: Critical Leadership in Singapore Theatre
78. Geomnemonic Performance: Activating Political Ontology through Unsettled Remains
79. Art, Politics and the Promise of Rupture: Reimagining the Manifesto in an Age of Overflow
80. Re-visit/ Re-Examine/ Re-Contextualise/ Re-Ignite: Protest and Activism as Performance
Sarah Ann Standing
81. Evidencing Slow Making in One-to-One Performance at the Proximity Festival
82. Re-Inventing a Political Theatre in Burkina Faso
Heather Jeanne Denyer
This impressive companion offers deep analysis and extensive international coverage of performances, contexts, theories and geographies. The eight terms that structure it creatively disrupt conventional perceptions of politics and standard ways of thinking about theatre's impact. The length of each short essay belies both its complexity and its contribution to productive negotiations between theatre and politics.
Professor Joanne Tompkins, The University of Queensland
The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics provides crucially diverse and consistently inspiring clarion calls to action. A rich collection of interventions from across our contemporary world, The Companion offers vital examples of cultural activism that readers might engage, develop and deliver in their own acts of political performance.
Professor Susan Bennett, University of Calgary
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