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Title: The environment on stage : scenery or shapeshifter?
Author: Hudson, Julie Patricia
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis is about the environment on stage in production and reception, in several guises. Ecocritical theatre speaks for the environment. Theatre ecologies denote the system of feedback loops running through theatrical events. Theatre ecocriticism describes an ecoaware spectatorial lens. The main theoretical innovation is the conception of the theatrical event 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. Acceptance of this perspective requires a mind-set I describe as ‘ecoanthropocentric’, and theatre that succeeds in inculcating this perspective is ‘ecoeffective’. Both terms contain the idea that nature is culture and culture is nature, running through the work of Gregory Bateson and others. Methodologies applied in the empirical work are shaped in the same spirit: circularity, ambiguity, oscillating feedback loops and runaway warming systems are necessarily characteristic of effective ecotheatre. My thesis question was prompted by suggestions that the environment is occluded on stage, an idea at odds with evidence of an active presence. Archival material suggests that coherent productions of Coriolanus put dearth (thus, the environment) on stage. Waiting for Godot is regularly staged as a response to environmental disasters. The campaigning group BP or Not BP speaks out for the environment through stage invasions. The bicycle reveals the environmental shapeshifter at the core of a cycling theatre company's productions. Critics reviewing a climate-change play in 2015 were more engaged in the play's ecological dimensions than their 1994 counterparts. Overall, the environment on stage is found to be at its most effective when consistently embedded, in the lived experience of production and reception, as an open secret.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater