An embodied ecodramaturgy : ecology and performance in contemporary theater, dance, and performance art
- This dissertation expands upon the relatively new theory of performance and ecology within the larger field of ecocriticism, or what has come to be called "ecodramaturgy." With climate change, globalization, and issues of sustainability much on the minds of citizens, politicians, the media, and artists, the time is ripe for performance-makers to keep the momentum of this international outlook going and to move it forward by producing theatrical events that capture the public's imagination, stimulate the popular consciousness, and catalyze the national conversation about climate change. Embodied and imaginative ecological performance practices are poised to shift the paradigms of human-nature relations and to change audience perceptions of themselves by stirring the collective imagination towards a deeper sense of our material embeddedness in the more-than-human world. The dissertation argues that by rejecting wholly anthropocentric perspectives and, instead, staging and affirming non-hierarchical relationships between nature and humans, ecological performances deconstruct the distinctions between human/animal, actor/spectator, culture/nature, performed/everyday life and, in doing so, have the power to produce responsive participants in ecological action. The urgent call here is for a rigorous, imaginative ecological discourse in performance and performance studies that brings into focus a sense of environmental world citizenship and an ecologically-based advocacy on behalf of greater socio-environmental justice. The theater's agile ability to move effortlessly between metaphor and physical presence reveals its power to be a particularly apt medium to tell stories in ways that can activate shifts in perception and action. I have chosen plays and performance events, therefore, that are particularly poetic and metaphorical while they are, at the same time, entirely wrapped up in the material-ecological situatedness of their stories. This project looks at performances from the 1990s through 2012 that directly engage with issues of the urban landscape and globalization; that intentionally explore the material relationships between bodies and the detritus of environmental waste or the effects of global warming; that advocate for a felt, phenomenological connection to the earth; or that explicitly reveal the damaging effects of political violence on bodies, the land, and on the community. The dissertation argues that an ecological consciousness at work in performance and performance scholarship troubles the prevailing human/nature split by locating humans and the more-than-human world in a mutually reliant system. The scope of this analysis takes in ecologically aware performance-making that includes dance, theater, performance art, and devised theater, all of which productively engage with the idea of performance as iterated activity through which variation, difference, agency, and spontaneity emerge in creative moments of exchange. This notion of an ever-evolving sense of performance allows for fluid, creative, relational moments that encompass the human and the more-than-human world.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Thomas, Arden Elizabeth
|Stanford University, Department of Theater and Performance Studies.
|Elam, Harry Justin
|Elam, Harry Justin
|Statement of responsibility
|Arden Elizabeth Thomas.
|Submitted to the Department of Theater and Performance Studies.
|Ph.D. Stanford University 2013
- © 2013 by Arden Elizabeth Thomas
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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