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
PART I: THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF FAILURE
2. Carry on Camping?: Spectacle, Concealment, and Failure in the Performance ofPolitics
3. What Chance Failure?
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
6. Asserting Afro-German Subjectivity on the German Stage
PART II: FAILURE AND PERFORMANCE
7. Anaesthesis: Dance Marathons and the Limits of Sense
8. Missing the Target: Emotion, Stoic Psychology, and the Actor
PART III: THEATRE’S PHILOSOPHY OF FAILURE
9. Theatre of the Worldless
10. Theatre’s Broken Middle
11. What a Joke: Ruzzante’s Failed Attempt at the Good Life