To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
This article explores the political and ethical implications of performance representing the ongoing realities of migration in contemporary Britain. Using Good Chance Theatre's The Jungle (2018) as its point of departure, the article problematizes the use of dramaturgies of proximity to confect simplistic notions of empathy as tantamount to political change. In a Brechtian vein, the article argues for modes of distanciation to foster critical engagement among audiences at the site of contemporary performance on migration. Focusing upon the production's West End transfer, its use of immersive strategies and its use of a comedic model to address ongoing issues in migration, this article finds that such strategies are not as politically transgressive as marketing and critical reception often contend them to be, with the onus of responsibility placed solely upon the individual spectator.
The Stolpersteine (‘stumbling stones’) memorial project commemorates victims of Nazi violence and the Holocaust through an individual marker installed outside the last willing residence before deportation and execution. The Stolpersteine project has spread throughout Europe, providing an urban topography of sites where traumatic events occurred. Because Stolpersteine are placed in public streets, they create performance possibilities, inviting passing pedestrians to engage in past history and trauma. As the project grows throughout Europe, however, the universality of the stones abuts with the specificity of local history and memory. This article considers the Stolpersteine installed in the Catalan city of Manresa. These stones, representing twenty-eight Spanish Republicans who were interned at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, are framed by a Catalan-language audio guide that directly points to the collaboration of the Francisco Franco dictatorship with Nazi Germany. In so doing, the stones in Spain also stand for violence meted out during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco dictatorship.
New Zealand critics and audiences in 1903 hailed Tapu (by Alfred Hill and Arthur Adams) as the harbinger of a new ‘national drama’. They thought that the comic opera captured the national essence and would broadcast the nation's advantages to a global audience. Yet the production never made it beyond Sydney, and has since disappeared from the historical record. My analysis of the script and critical reception shows that Tapu faltered in its confused adoption of a wide array of techniques of racial mimicry (borrowed from metropolitan theatres) to represent indigenous Māori and white visitors, but not the native-born settler population. The story of Tapu's failure, I argue, reveals something about the transnational conditions for the constitution of a national public sphere, and the indispensability of race as a supplement to that nation. It attunes us to the force of performance genre and repertoire as vehicles of racial information and affect, pointing to the ways in which conformity, rather than invention, was the ticket to success in the emergent global culture industries. If popular performance, and specifically racial mimicry, operated as a public experiment with the racial properties of citizenship – as a generation of scholarship on race and performance has argued – to what extent was that experiment controlled by the conventions of the global commodity market? This essay reaches insights that will be of interest to scholars of (trans)national performance history, settler whiteness and global indigeneity, and is germane to disciplinary debates on minstrelsy, ethnological show business, and cultural appropriation.
Minnie Cunningham (1870–1954) was a British music hall star and actress whose career spanned nearly forty years. Today she is primarily remembered through paintings made of her by the prominent British artist Walter Sickert (1860–1942) in the early 1890s. Despite her popularity, Cunningham has mostly been overlooked in music hall and theatre histories. Instead, the limited information that is available about her today comes to us primarily through art-history scholarship on Sickert. To fill this gap, this paper offers the first scholarly account of Cunningham by drawing together press notices, published interviews, and other artefacts from her long career. This introduction to Cunningham is framed by a discussion of the unevenness of the cultural transactions taking place between these artists – between the ‘higher’ arts practice of modern painting and the perceived ‘lower’ music hall. I consider how this imbalance played out at the time these artists worked and the impact this has had in the preservation (or lack thereof) of their artistic practices.
In the globalized twenty-first century, the relevance of intercultural performance is to forge supporting infrastructures between collaborators of divergent sociocultural backgrounds and disciplinary training. Fostering such infrastructures is vital for reconfiguring existing social relations and redistributing resources in the face of increasing sociocultural asymmetry. However, I argue that transforming collaborating ‘strangers’ into interdependent components of a sustainable symbiotic community necessitates the implementation of a collaborative ergonomics. It is an ergonomics concerned with the efficiency and efficacy of collaboration that actively seeks to traverse boundaries and borders. Linguistic translation, lexical translation and the transference and co-production of embodied knowledge are the crucial steps for effecting a collaborative ergonomics. Signs of an emerging symbiosis include the increasingly collaborative relationships between the collaborators and the transformation of embodied practices into highly reflexive and rigorous praxis.
Digital-audio performance walks can be powerful performances, responding to troubling pasts, giving voice to testimony, and creating an affective geography that satisfies a participant's desire to connect with the city rather than just walk through it. Yet digital-audio performance walks also raise questions about performance and voyeurism, and the disconnection of private headphone experience, alongside issues of agency, detachment and appropriation. This article addresses key issues associated with digital-audio performance walks, using two case studies of performance walks (from Israel and Ireland), that aim to communicate politically charged and painful histories, which are at once ‘now’ and ‘then’, ‘here’ and ‘there’. The article considers some of the risks in digital-audio performance walks: dark tourism, privatization and empathic quietism. Finally, the article assesses what creative strategies are available to creators – and audiences – to make collaborative performance walks that galvanize spectators to become active witnesses.
Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt remained a rarely performed play throughout the author's lifetime. It was not until around the outbreak of the First World War that stage productions of the play began to proliferate. This article examines the pre-1945 production history of the play in the light of a concept that signifies a particular way of composing a repertoire, the repertory system. It was first and foremost prominent stages in Germany that paved the way for Peer Gynt to become incorporated into this system, leading to an exponential growth in the number of stage events. The production history illustrates how plays that are performed over a long period of time question the notion of production as a fixed mise en scène. Supporting Linda Hutcheon's argument about adaptation as a continuous process, the productions examined here demonstrate that there was no such thing as a standard way to adapt Peer Gynt for the stage.
We Are All Treaty People is a Canadian play for young audiences (ages eight to twelve) that addresses difficult knowledge, Elders’ story sharing, and contemporary and historical Indigenous–settler relations. This article discusses the contemporary and historical political context of the play and its production, the creation process and its narrative anchors. It argues that through a respectful, Indigenous-led creation process, and structural techniques, the play has the potential to offer hope and healing, and encourage relationships based on knowledge.
Mei Lanfang's contact with Stanislavsky during his 1935 tour in the Soviet Union and the latter's often-cited ‘appraisal’ of the acting of traditional Chinese theatre have exerted a profound and lasting influence on the Chinese understanding and evaluation of the art of their traditional theatre. Through extensive research into the related archival material, as well as contemporary records, this article investigates the historical facts and circumstances that underlie this historic intercultural moment on the twentieth-century international stage. It unweaves the historical construction of this remarkable intercultural phenomenon and exposes its political and ideological underpinnings as well as its theatrical and artistic placements and displacements. It underscores the necessity of deconstructing the creation of such an intercultural myth for today's historical understanding of the art of traditional Chinese theatre and, by implication, in a larger context, of the global making of twentieth-century intercultural theatre.
Some recent performances have addressed events that created ‘human no-go zones’ such as Chernobyl (CEZ), Fukushima (FEZ) and the Korean DMZ. In the wake of the destruction that results in the absence of humans, non-human residents begin the process of recuperation, and the ‘no-go zones’ become inadvertent sanctuaries for wild and abandoned domestic animals. Each of the following productions takes a different view of what occurs when both the norms of nature and the practices of human societies and economies are profoundly disrupted. In addition, one play has depicted a community exercising a new restraint to establish an intentional ‘no-go zone’ to ensure its own survival. When confronted with catastrophes that threaten the existence of all life, as well as the surprising possibilities of renewal, dramatists employ heightened poetic diction and resort to mythical precedents in the attempt to capture the immensity of both the event and its aftermath.
During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, two Kosovo-born Swiss players stirred controversy when they flashed a double-headed eagle gesture during a contentious win over Serbia. The gesture was an assertion of ethnic Albanian pre-eminence in Kosovo and a rhetorical strike against the Serbians, who still claim ownership over Kosovo even ten years after its declaration of independence. The gesture sparked worldwide media coverage and prompted punishments by FIFA (the World Cup's governing body), which legislates against overt political expression during matches. In this article, I will examine the double-headed eagle gesture as an example of the body's unique capacity to perform multiple political interventions at once. Not only did it transmit a contentious history, it also undermined the anti-political boundaries erected around the scenarios of transnational combat engendered by FIFA, highlighted anti-immigrant sentiments still festering across Europe, and illustrated the communicative powers that elite players can access through their goal celebrations. Considering these valences supports my reading of this case as symbolic of the sort of ruptures produced by competing impulses operating in Europe today, one working for the affirmation of the union, the other for its dissolution.
This article intends to critique the spectres of authority which haunt theatrical interpretations of Rabindranath Tagore's (1861–1941) plays. As Tagore is a cultural icon, since even before his demise his plays have been made sites for exercising cultural and institutional authority. A consequent uneasy anticipation of denunciation or censorship has essentially deterred theatre directors from creatively interpreting and staging his plays. In terms of discourse also, there has been a spiral of silence regarding the presence of such authority. It is only since the beginning of the twenty-first century, after the termination of the copyright to Tagore's works, that the situation has lightened considerably. This article deals with the above phenomenon in two segments. While the second segment provides a close analysis of one of the first productions to radically subvert the status quo regarding the creative staging of Tagore's plays, the first provides a contextual, historical build-up to that moment. The article argues that in dramatic theatre authority is often validated on the basis of an ‘archival logic’ of thinking which requires systematic dismantling.
Dossier–Theatrical Vestiges: Material Remains and Theatre Historiography
In her 2017 show Nanette, Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby announced that she was quitting comedy. In the show, Gadsby argued that as a marginalized person – a gender-nonconforming lesbian from rural Tasmania – she was doing herself a disservice when she invited audiences to laugh at her trademark self-deprecating humour. Gadsby framed her decision to quit comedy partly as a problem of persona: her practice as a comedian was to take actual, sometimes traumatic, events from her life and turn them into jokes, which she described as ‘half-told stories’. So framed, the problem with Gadsby's comic persona is the way it both presents and truncates her traumatic experience. When she refuses to be funny, Gadsby casts herself as something like Sara Ahmed's ‘feminist killjoy’, a spoilsport figure whose unhappiness positions her as a source of tension. In this article I consider how Gadsby's decision to quit comedy, and the terms in which she articulates that decision in Nanette, can help us think about varied modes of humourlessness and comic possibility.
This dossier opens up a set of questions about what theatre and performance can do and be in a climate-changed future. Through a series of practice snapshots the authors suggest a diversity of responses to decolonizing and environmental justice issues in and through theatre and performance. These practices include the climate-fiction film The Wandering Earth, which prompts questions about what decolonizing means for China and the impact of climate chaos on the mental well-being of young people; The Living Pavilion, an Australian Indigenous-led project that created a biodiverse event space showcasing Indigenous art making; Dancing Earth Indigenous dance company who use dance as a way to engage Indigenous ecological thinking and Indigenous futurity; water rituals in the Andes of Peru that problematize water policy and ethnic boundaries.
Dossier–Theatrical Vestiges: Material Remains and Theatre Historiography
The theatre collection of Carl Niessen (1890–1969), professor of theatre studies in Cologne, contains a draft of a comprehensive research institution for theatre studies (Reichstheaterinstitut) from 1943. This draft consists of a blueprint of a museum of global theatre history and a written outline. In the blueprint, the objects and documents were presented in a sequential narrative so that visitors would be able to explore a global theatre history through the embodied practice of walking through a setting of interrelated theatre concepts. Drawing on Diana Taylor's distinction between the archive and the repertoire, I argue that, although never realized as planned, this blueprint conceptualized Niessen's ideas of how to think about, exhibit, present and experience theatre history through material traces, as an anthropological constant – a conditio humana varying in time and space.