The Stage Lives of Animals : Zooesis and Performance book cover
1st Edition

The Stage Lives of Animals
Zooesis and Performance

ISBN 9781138818477
Published October 12, 2016 by Routledge
234 Pages

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Book Description

The Stage Lives of Animals examines what it might mean to make theatre beyond the human. In this stunning collection of essays, Una Chaudhuri engages with the alternative modes of thinking, feeling, and making art offered by animals and animality, bringing insights from theatre practice and theory to animal studies as well as exploring what animal studies can bring to the study of theatre and performance.

As our planet lives through what scientists call "the sixth extinction," and we become ever more aware of our relationships to other species, Chaudhuri takes a highly original look at the "animal imagination" of well-known plays, performances and creative projects, including works by:

  • Caryl Churchill
  • Rachel Rosenthal
  • Marina Zurkow
  • Edward Albee
  • Tennesee Williams
  • Eugene Ionesco

Covering over a decade of explorations, a wide range of writers, and many urgent topics, this volume demonstrates that an interspecies imagination deeply structures modern western drama.

Table of Contents



1. (De)Facing The Animals: Zooësis and Performance

2. Animal Rites: Performing Beyond the Human

3. Animal Geographies: Zooësis and the Space of Modern Drama

4. "Awk!": Extremity, Animality, and the Aesthetic of Awkwardness in Tennessee Williams’s The Gnädiges Fräulein

5. Zoo Stories: Boundary Work in Theater History

Animalizing Interlude: Zoöpolis

6. Becoming Rhinoceros: Therio-Theatricality as Problem and Promise in Western Drama

7. Bug Bytes: Insects, Information, and Interspecies Theatricality

8. The Silence of the Polar Bears: Performing (Climate) Change in the Theater of Species

9. Queering the Green Man, Reframing the Garden: Marina Zurkow’s Mesocosm (Northumberland UK) and the Theater of Species

10. War Horses and Dead Tigers: Embattled Animals in a Theater of Species

11. Interspecies Diplomacy in Anthropocenic Waters: Performing an Ocean Oriented Ontology


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Una Chaudhuri is a Professor of English, Drama, and Environmental Studies at New York University. She has lectured and published internationally on modern drama, performance theory, animal studies, and eco-criticism.