The Environment on Stage: Scenery or Shapeshifter? investigates a pertinent voice of theatrical performance within the production and reception of ecotheatre. Theatre ecologies, unavoidably enmeshed in the environment, describe the system of sometimes perverse feedback loops running through theatrical events, productions, performances and installations. This volume applies an ecoaware spectatorial lens to explore live theatre as a living ecosystem in a literal sense. The vibrant chemistry between production and reception, and the spiralling ideas and emotions this generates in some conditions, are unavoidably driven by flows of matter and energy, thus, by the natural environment, even when human perspectives seem to dominate.
The Environment on Stage is an intentionally eclectic mix of observation, close reading and qualitative research, undertaken with the aim of exploring ecocritical ideas embedded in ecotheatre from a range of perspectives. Individual chapters identify productions, performances and installations in which the environment is palpably present on stage, as it is in natural disasters such as floods, storms, famine, conflict and climate change. These themes and others are explored in the context of site-specificity, subversive spectators, frugal modes of narrative, the shifting ‘stuff’ of theatre productions, and imaginative substitutions. Ecotheatre is nothing less than vibrant matter that lets the environment speak for itself
Introduction: Setting the Ecotheatrical Scene
Chapter One: The Environment on Stage in Production and Reception
Chapter Two: Natural Disasters as Ecotheatrical Shapeshifters
Chapter Three: An Ecotheatrical Perspective on Dearth in Performance
Chapter Four: The Environment in Performance – Stage Invasion or Deus ex Machina?
Chapter Five: Environmental Theatre, Site Specificity and Theatre Ecologies
Chapter Six: Frugal Modes of Story-telling as Ecotheatre
Chapter Seven: Bicycles on Stage – Shapeshifters or Scenery?
Chapter Eight: Reperforming Reception – The Skriker in 1994 and 2015
Chapter Nine: On the Importance of Intrinsic Environmental Responsibility
Since the dawn of human artistic and cultural expression, the natural world and our complex and often vexed relationships with the other-than-human have been essential themes in such expression. This series seeks to offer an encompassing approach to literary explorations of environmental experiences and ideas, reaching from the earliest known literatures to the twenty-first century and accounting for vernacular approaches throughout the world. In recent decades, it has become clear that highly localized, non-Western forms of literary expression and scholarly analysis have much to contribute to ecocritical understanding—such studies, as well as examinations of European and North American literatures, are encouraged. Comparative treatments of literary works from different cultures, cultural expression in various media (including literature and connections with visual and performing arts, ecocinema, music, videogames, and material culture), and interdisciplinary scholarly methodologies would be ideal contributions to the series. What are the lessons regarding human-animal kinship that can be gleaned from indigenous songs in Africa, Amazonia, Oceania, the Americas, and other regions of the world? Which discourses of toxicity in the urban centers of contemporary East Asia and the post-industrial brownscapes of Europe and America might gain traction as we seek to balance human and ecological health and robust economies? What are some of the Third World expressions of postcolonial ecocriticism, posthumanism, material ecocriticism, gender-based ecocriticism, ecopoetics, and other avant-garde trends? How do basic concepts such as "wilderness" or "animal rights" or "pollution" find expression in diverse environmental voices and become imbricated with questions of caste, class, gender, politics, and ethnicity? The global circulation of culturally diverse texts provides resources for understanding and engaging with the environmental crisis. This series aims to provide a home for projects demonstrating both traditional and experimental approaches in environmental literary studies.
Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA
Swarnalatha Rangarajan, Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Matthew Wynn Sivils, Iowa State University, USA