1st Edition

Towards an Ecocritical Theatre Playing the Anthropocene

By Mohebat Ahmadi Copyright 2022
    248 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    248 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Towards an Ecocritical Theatre investigates contemporary theatre through the lens of Anthropocene-oriented ecocriticism. It assesses how Anthropocene thinking engages different modes of theatrical representation, as well as how the theatrical apparatus can rise to the representational challenges of changing interactions between humans and the nonhuman world.

    To explore these problems, the book investigates international Anglophone plays and performances by Caryl Churchill, Stephen Sewell, Andrew Bovell, E.M. Lewis, Chantal Bilodeau, Jordan Hall, and Miwa Matreyek, who have taken significant steps towards re-orienting theatre from its traditional focus on humans to an ecocritical attention to nonhumans and the environment in the Anthropocene. Their theatrical works show how an engagement with the problem of scale disrupts the humanist bias of theatre, provoking new modes of theatrical inquiry that envision a scale beyond the human and realign our ecological culture, art, and intimacy with geological time. Moreover, the plays and performances studied here, through their liveness, immediacy, physicality, and communality, examine such scalar shifts via the problem of agency in order to give expression to the stories of nonhuman actants. These theatrical works provoke reflections on the flourishing of multispecies responsibilities and sensitivities in aesthetic and ethical terms, providing a platform for research in the environmental humanities through imaginative conversations on the world’s iterative performativity in which all bodies, human and nonhuman, are cast horizontally as agential forces on the theatrical world stage.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of theatre studies, environmental humanities, and ecocritical studies.

    Chapter One: Where Ecocriticism Meets Theatre in the Era of the Anthropocene

    Chapter Two: Setting the Stage for the Material Turn and Agential Bodies: Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker and Far Away

    Chapter Three: Setting the Stage for the End of the World: Stephen Sewell’s It Just Stopped and Andrew Bovell’s When the Rain Stops Falling

    Chapter Four: Setting the Stage for Material Expressions across Planetary Boundaries: E.M. Lewis’ Song of Extinction and Chantal Bilodeau’s Sila

    Chapter Five: Setting the Stage for Possibilities of Collaborative Survival: Jordan Hall’s A Brief History of Human Extinction and Miwa Matreyek’s This World Made Itself and Infinitely Yours

    Chapter Six: Conclusion: Anthropocenic Theatre: A Stage for Living in the Present and Imagining the Future


    Mohebat Ahmadi completed her PhD (English and Theatre studies) at the University of Melbourne. She is an independent scholar, and presently lives in Toronto, Canada.