Theatre, exposure and the exterior
in Precarious spectatorship
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Chapter 4 appraises both the destruction of the exterior and the ‘empty centre’ that I theorize as hallmarks of emergencies, proposing a survey of some recent theatrical texts in which these ideas have been tackled. The intention here is to illustrate some ways in which theatre, with its partialities, contingencies and failures, can offer spaces of potential identification or resistance to this process. I begin with the concept of a ‘rigged game’. This idea, which underpins Forced Entertainment’s Real Magic, Ontroerend Goed’s £¥€$ (LIES) 2 Magpies’ Last Resort and Theatre Conspiracy’s Foreign Radical, offers a way of conceptualising through performance the restrictive limits imposed by emergency protocol. Addressing each in turn, I explore the ways in which they create theatrical languages to challenge the orthodoxies latent within emergencies and, importantly, destabilize the notion that ‘there is no other choice’. My second cluster of productions are Kieran Hurley’s Heads Up, Andy Duffy’s Crash and Mark Thomas’ The Red Shed, which are shows that borrow conventions from storytelling and dramatise the imperative of retaining a sense of historical context to the present moment, and the consequences of what can happen if this relationship is overwritten.

Precarious spectatorship

Theatre and image in an age of emergencies


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