Heterotopia and the mapping of unreal spaces on stage
in Foucault’s theatres
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Foucault’s description of heterotopia in ‘Of Other Places’ has remained under-appreciated in theatre criticism, even though it can offer a detailed awareness of theatre’s spatial arrangements and their implications for the world at large. This chapter rereads heterotopia against a more theatre-specific understanding of performance than Foucault provided in his brief essay. It expands the potential for heterotopia in theatre by focusing on the alternate spaces of mythic and unreal spaces through Gaston Bachelard’s concept of topoanalysis and Yi-Fu Tuan’s exploration of mythic space. The chapter examines a historical play (Richard Brome’s The Antipodes, first performed in 1638) and a contemporary play (debbie tucker green’s 2015 hang) which each address a location that is not ‘real’ but that is equally ‘not unreal’ and which help situate heterotopia to speak to the fundamental changes to theatre spatiality in the twenty-first century.

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