Theatre, Intimacy and Engagement: The Last Human Venue

Overview

The last human venue marks the location and moment of human beings' awareness of their own eventual extinction. Taking this sober end as an affirmative starting point Theatre, Intimacy & Engagement explores ways in which performance operates as an exciter of sentience, kick-starting our sense of beings alive, acting as a pleasurable lengthening device to extend our inevitable fate.

Humans in this venue distinguish themselves from other animals through their experiencing of ...

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Overview

The last human venue marks the location and moment of human beings' awareness of their own eventual extinction. Taking this sober end as an affirmative starting point Theatre, Intimacy & Engagement explores ways in which performance operates as an exciter of sentience, kick-starting our sense of beings alive, acting as a pleasurable lengthening device to extend our inevitable fate.

Humans in this venue distinguish themselves from other animals through their experiencing of an extended childhood, in their ability to sustain a controlled, unbroken outward breath and by their unique capacity to aesthetically disappoint. Theatre companies in this venue, Forced Entertainment, Societas Raffaello Sanzio and Goat Island generate images of epochal endings, profane resistance to sacred separation and ecological potential of repair. Those who are stage-struck in this venue think through theatre ideas about matters of human animal concern: the politics of nature, the anthropological machine, the distribution of the sensible and the inoperative community.

Theatre, Intimacy & Engagement, now available in paperback, continues Alan Read's work on radical inclusion by proposing how a social science of appearance disturbs our assumptions as to what a politics of performance can do when it comes to expanding the collective.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a rich and rewarding book, written with feeling and a deep commitment to its many, various and often unpredictable subjects. Readers who accept its generous invitation will be seduced, provoked and encouraged to think afresh about how they understand their theatre, their politics and their intellectual engagement." — Nicholas Ridout, School of English and Drama, Queen Mary, University of London, UK

"Read's polemic poses a vehement and noteworthy challenge, not least for the urgency with which he calls for an ethics of practice and scholarship." — Dominic Johnson, Contemporary Theatre Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230572614
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 2/19/2008
  • Series: Studies in International Performance Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 5.65 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

ALAN READ is currently Professor of Theatre at Kings College London, UK. In the 1980s, he directed the neighborhood theatre, Rotherhithe Theatre Workshop, and in the 1990s he lived and worked in Barcelona and was Director of Talks at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Alan Read is the author of Theatre & Everyday Life and the editor of The Fact of Blackness and Architecturally Speaking.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Self-evident: intimacy and engagement 1

The human laboratory: parable of a recent past 2

Nature, theatre politics: the present project 5

A second naivete: the future constitution 14

Pt. I On The Social Life of Theatre : Towards a Science of Appearance

Introduction 15

The Ends of Politics 25

A Singular Art 30

The Social Conditional 40

Begin Again 44

Sufficient Goods 46

The Present Imperfect 53

Discipline in Distress 58

A Life in Theatre 68

Theatre Returns 70

Pt. II On Performance as Such & On Human Performance in Particular

1 The Anthropological Machine 81

2 Nature Table 102

3 Stage Play 120

4 Ring-Side 132

5 Redeemed Night 145

Fear 146

Fauna 149

Fur 152

6 Infant Enthusiasm 157

Infant 158

Infant animal 161

Interval 164

Infant, animal, automata 165

Infant 'inhuman' Auschwitz 171

Pt. III On The Part of Those Who Have No Part

7 The Distribution of the Sensible 175

8 Recalling the Collective 187

9 Forensic Display 207

10 Arrested Life 218

11 The Democracy Machine 229

Memoir: Civil Service 231

Memorial: Military Service 238

Memory: Secret Service 244

Pt. IV In the Event of Extinction: Natural History & Its Ends

Introduction 249

Destination Nature 252

Natural History 263

In the Event of Extinction 268

The Last Human Venue 271

The Franciscan Model 274

Postscript 277

The paradox of the actor 277

The parallax of the performer 278

The Lazarus affect 279

Notes 280

Select Bibliography 299

Index 308

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