A cave, a skull, and a little piece of grit

Lavery, C. (2020) A cave, a skull, and a little piece of grit. In: Shepherd-Barr, K. E. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Theatre and Science. Series: Cambridge Companions to Theatre and Performance. Cambridge University Press, pp. 55-69. ISBN 9781108676533 (doi:10.1017/9781108676533.005)

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This chapter argues for a new way of thinking about what an ecologically oriented dialogue between theatre and science might give rise to. Three canonical Western texts – Plato’s cave, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Beckett’s Endgame – are read as instances of geology. The aim is to show how Western theatre is not simply a privileged space for human society to reflect on itself, as is often claimed, but a nonhuman medium, a decidedly mineralized practice – the very thing that so troubled Plato and that has caused Western philosophy to remain so suspicious of the stage. Reading Western theatre as geology, moreover, permits a theory of eco-performance criticism appropriate to and for the Anthropocene. Where accepted models of eco-theatre tend to run into dangerous contradiction, practically and theoretically, by divorcing themselves from theatre’s larger ecology and history, this chapter discloses, by contrast, the extent to which the theatrical medium is always already ecological by dint of its occluded mineralogy.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lavery, Professor Carl
Authors: Lavery, C.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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