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Precarious SpectatorshipTheatre and Image in an Age of Emergencies$
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Sam Haddow

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526138415

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526138422

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Theatre, exposure and the exterior

Theatre, exposure and the exterior

(p.112) 4 Theatre, exposure and the exterior
Precarious Spectatorship

Sam Haddow

Manchester University Press

Chapter four 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 (all 2017), offers a way of conceptualizing 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 (2016), Andy Duffy’s Crash (2015) and Mark Thomas’ The Red Shed (2016), which are shows that borrow conventions from storytelling and dramatize 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.

Keywords:   Theatre, Emergency, Storytelling, Participatory theatre, Forced Entertainment, Rigged Games, Bernard Stiegler

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