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An art like nature: theatre environment as territory in Tim Spooner performances

An art like nature: theatre environment as territory in Tim Spooner performances

Bowes, Neil Simon ORCID: 0000-0002-9189-0322 (2022) An art like nature: theatre environment as territory in Tim Spooner performances. Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, 10 (1). pp. 1-15. ISSN 2195-0156 (Print), 2195-0164 (Online) (doi:

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Tim Spooner has described his practice as “an increasingly complex series of live performances centred on the revelation of life in material.”1 In this article, I consider this revelation as the precondition of a theatre ecology. Spooner stages a theatrical encounter between bodies and environments, in which distinctions between person-thing, subject-object, self-other no longer hold. Whilst there are evident parallels between this practice and posthumanist, or new-materialist philosophy, I shall describe Spooner’s theatre as 'artlike'. This article responds to two thematics outlined in the original call for papers for JCDE 2021: “eco-spaces” and “eco-aesthetics.” The argument runs: 1) an ecological space is the result of an ecological aesthetics; theatre is considered fundamentally social, political in significance; art is fundamentally ecological in significance; 2) ecocritical theatre and theatre ecology are categorically distinct: in ecocriticism, political, social, and cultural concerns mediate a concern for nature; in a theatre ecology nature is reconstructed virtually; 3) ecocriticism stages a recognition of an ecological crisis in social terms; theatre ecology stages a revelation of an environment; 4) against theatre, there is legislation; 5) a theatre ecology extends the juxtapositional logic of political ecology: this is a false start and ill-timed. The argument leads to a reconstruction of three gestures drawn from three of Spooner’s performances. In these gestures, theatre is rendered artlike. The exposition describes Spooner’s practice in terms of embodiment and occupation, before considering how the ecological implications of an artlike theatre are, firstly and finally, ethical.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Critical Theatre Ecologies
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tim Spooner; Baruch Spinoza; Gilles Deleuze; occupation; territory
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Drama, Theatre & Performance (DTP)
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)
Last Modified: 18 May 2022 14:16

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