“Mundane” performance: theatre outdoors and earthly pleasures

O'Malley, Evelyn, Turner, Cathy and Garcia, Giselle ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2715-876X (2023) “Mundane” performance: theatre outdoors and earthly pleasures. Critical Stages.

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This paper seeks to reclaim the literal meaning of the word “mundane,” to propose a “mundane” theatre, which, rather than being “humdrum or dull,” is more positively “belonging to the earthly world.” Rather than the theatrum mundi that imagines the world as a stage or that aspires to present the earth or cosmos in its entirety on stage, it seeks a form that engages audiences with belonging to the earthly realm as its substantive material affect. It draws on a United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI)-funded project, “Outside the Box: Open-Air Performance as a Pandemic Response,” which commissioned a season of curated, outdoor performance works for Exeter in July and August 2021. Grounded in the authors’ experiences of five performance commissions, audience evaluation and wider interviews with artists and local authorities, we identify the ways in which the practical programme of case study works produced what we describe, positively, as “mundane” performance, thereby prompting pleasure in ecologically sensitive practices, grounded by earth and rediscovering of place, expressive of corporeal interconnectedness, engaged with materiality and revealing earth as that which remains paradoxically concealed. In their openness to the world, these performances remain a map of interconnected drafts, rather than finished or reproducible works. These kinds of mundane performance, for which we advocate, answer and react to what they find in and about nonhuman nature in the moment but also have the capacity to bring earthly concerns to light within those responses. Glimpses of another—extraordinary, perhaps—life quality emerge as possible in mundane performance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2022 Evelyn O’Malley, Cathy Turner, Giselle Garcia This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
Keywords: mundane, theatre, outdoors, pleasure, performance, open-air, earthly
Subjects: Performing arts > Theatrical events
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Giselle Garcia
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2023 16:50
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 16:13
URI: https://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/9726

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