Performance and the Right: Strategies and Subterfuges [Special Issue of Studies in Theatre and Performance]

Hudson, James and de Senna, Pedro, eds. (2021) Performance and the Right: Strategies and Subterfuges [Special Issue of Studies in Theatre and Performance]. Taylor and Francis. ISBN UNSPECIFIED

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Theatre and performance scholarship has exhaustively theorised the nature of the political dimensions of drama: its strategies, capacities and materiality, with its inherent potential as a site of collision with existing assumptions and values repeatedly emphasised. The maxim ‘all theatre is political’ has long been a staple axiom of the theatre academic, usually accompanied by an acknowledgement that some theatre is more political than others: essentially, that which questions dominant narratives and structures of understanding.

It ought to be no surprise that the bulk of scholarship that addresses political theatre tends to explore its emancipatory potential. A considerable corpus of theory and practice, very much inflected and influenced by political movements and identity politics, has concerned itself with analysing, portraying, and representing points of view typically associated with the politics of the left (problematic and provisional as such definitions may be). Since political performance has a long-established Marxist (and post-Marxist) tradition, it has sought to problematise and question established power-relations and socio-economic structures, engaging with, and operating in, the axis of the personal/political, and being associated with radical projects of resistance.

Nonetheless, while scholarship on political theatre acknowledges that there are plays and performances that may be reactionary through a combination of form and content, comparatively little recent work has treated this notion to sustained interrogation, examined specific work in the light of it, or analysed the mechanics of its operation in detail. At present, while the rise in right-wing nationalisms across the globe has been analysed from a variety of perspectives, and by a number of disciplines – sociology, media studies, international relations, economics, and cultural studies – little substantive attention has heretofore been given to the relationships between theatre and performance and these reactionary forces. This Special Issue works to redress this, turning away from the more usual associations with the left’s habitual concerns and dealing more broadly with theatre and performance’s relation to the right – even if this relation is a critical one. It addresses the resurgence of right-wing political thought to conduct analyses of its modes of expression, performative dimensions and affective capacities as it is manifested in the contemporary global theatrical and performance culture. In sum, this Special Issue stakes a claim for a scholarly appreciation of the operationality of the continuum of right-wing, conservative and reactionary politics all the way from the recent recrudescence of the ‘classical liberal’ to the nativist and authoritarian as they currently appear in global theatre and performance cultures.

Keywords:Theatre, Performance, right wing politics, reactionary politics, far right politics
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W440 Theatre studies
L Social studies > L200 Politics
W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:37743
Deposited On:09 Oct 2019 13:22

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