1st Edition

Tactical Performance
The Theory and Practice of Serious Play

ISBN 9781138917842
Published February 24, 2016 by Routledge
324 Pages

USD $39.95

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Book Description

'Lucid, sharp, funny, Bogad's Tactical Performance is the book we've been waiting for on creative activism.' Diana Taylor, Director, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, New York University, and author of Performance

'Tactical Performance rehearses theatre and social justice strategies at their best: historically connected, culturally informed, alive and nimble in their responses to the political moment. With the savvy of a participant/observer and the acuity of an historian and critic, Bogad provides a lively overview of important activist performances, asking us to reconsider their effects and their promise. A crystal-clear argument in a must-read book for all who care about performance and social change.' Jill Dolan, Dean of the College, Princeton University

'Beautifully written; a playful, potent mixture of history, how-to, and theory, informed by the author’s many years of personal front-line experience.' The Yes Men (Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno)

'The love child of Lenny Bruce and Saul Alinsky, Bogad has worked, on the street and behind the scenes, at the nexus of some of the most compelling art-interventions of the past 15 years. He brings his truly original and bizarre performance-art sensibility both to his activism and to this ground-breaking book. Read it!' Guillermo Gómez-Peña, writer, performance artist and pedagogue

'Appalling bad taste and worse judgment make Bogad’s interventions memorable and frequently effective. Don’t try this alone at home. These actions should be undertaken with friends, and preferably with very good friends.' Peter Sellars, theatre director


Tactical Performance explores creative protest in unique depth, looking at the possibilities for direct action and theatrical confrontation with some of the most powerful institutions in the world. It effectively combines theory and practice, illustrating the basic principles of artful activism in an absorbing, accessible manner.

L.M. Bogad draws on his own experience as a writer, performer, and strategist working with groups such as the Yes Men, the Clown Army, Reclaim the Streets, and La Pocha Nostra, to share the most effective nonviolent tactics and theatrics.

An inspiring practical and theoretical guide, Tactical Performance is essential reading for anyone interested in creative pranksterism, subvertisement, cultural sabotage, and the global justice movement.

Table of Contents

Introduction A Red Carpet on the Picket Line: Tactical Performance

1 Tactical Carnival: Dialogism and Social Movements

2 Clownfrontation and Clowndestine Maneuvers: the Clown Army and the Irresistible Image

3 Reclaim the Streets: Tactical Interaction and the Urban Mallification/Mollification in New York City

4 Breaking Conventions, Breaking into Conventions (From the WTO to WTF?)

5 Critical Simulacra and Tricknology: Oil Enforcement Agents, Yes Men, and Survivaballs

6 All the News We Hope to Print: The Creation and Mass Distribution of Progressive Prank Papers

7 Crisis in Califorlornia: Creative Protest at the University of California

Conclusion Earning Moments for the Movement

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L.M. Bogad is Professor of political performance at the University of California at Davis. He is the author of Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical ridicule and social movements, the plays Haymarket, Tahrir, COINTELSHOW: A patriot act, and Economusic: Keeping score. He is the founding director of the Center for Tactical Performance.