1st Edition

Beyond Failure New Essays on the Cultural History of Failure in Theatre and Performance

Edited By Tony Fisher, Eve Katsouraki Copyright 2019
    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    In setting foot on stage, every performer risks the possiblity of failure. Indeed, the very performance of any human action is inextricable from its potential not to succeed. This inherent potential has become a key critical trope in contemporary theatre, performance studies, and scholarship around visual cultures. Beyond Failure explores what it means for our understanding not just of theatrical practice but of human social and cultural activity more broadly.

    The essays in this volume tackle contemporary debates around the theory and poetics of failure, suggesting that in the absence of success can be found a defiance and hopefulness that points to new ways of knowing and being in the world.

    Beyond Failure offers a unique and engaging approach for students and practitioners interested not only in the impact of failure on the stage, but what it means for wider social and cultural debates.

    1. Introduction: Knowing Failure

    Tony Fisher and Eve Katsouraki



    2. Carry on Camping?: Spectacle, Concealment, and Failure in the Performance of Politics

    Simon Bayly

    3. What Chance Failure?

    Mischa Twitchin

    4. Subverting the System: Kent Monkman and the Cultural Politics of Performing ‘Two-Spiritedness’

    Shanna Ketchum-Heap of Birds

    5. Come Hear the Music Play: The Politics of Queer Failure and Practices of Survival

    Joe Parslow

    6. Asserting Afro-German Subjectivity on the German Stage

    Macelle Mahala



    7. Anaesthesis: Dance Marathons and the Limits of Sense

    Kélina Gotman

    8. Missing the Target: Emotion, Stoic Psychology, and the Actor

    Cormac Power



    9. Theatre of the Worldless

    Tony Fisher

    10. Theatre’s Broken Middle

    Eve Katsouraki

    11. What a Joke: Ruzzante’s Failed Attempt at the Good Life

    Will Daddario




    Tony Fisher is Reader in Theatre and Philosophy at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London. His monograph, Theatre and Governance in Britain, 1500–1900: Democracy, Disorder and the State, was published in 2017. He is also co-editor (with Eve Katsouraki) of Performing Antagonism: Theatre, Performance and Radical Democracy (2017).

    Eve Katsouraki's research concerns the intersections of philosophy and performance, especially in relation to modernism, political performance and animals. She is an editor for the peer-reviewed journal Performance Philosophy and core-convenor for the international Performance Philosophy network. She co-edited (with Tony Fisher) the volume Performing Antagonism: Theatre, Performance and Radical Democracy (2017).