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Palgrave Macmillan

Performing Objects and Theatrical Things

ISBN 9781137402448
Publication Date September 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Performing Objects and Theatrical Things rethinks historical and contemporary theatre, performance, and cultural events from the perspective of the objects and things that activate stages, venues, environments, and archives. Embracing methodologies from across the humanities and social sciences, we understand physical materials as actants, with particular frequencies, energies, and potentials to affect human and nonhuman worlds. The texts, stage properties, instruments, costumes, photographs, and detritus that animate this collection emerge from the thirteenth- to the twenty-first century, traversing sites across Europe and North America. Challenging anthropocentric narratives that foreground humans as sole agents, our authors present object and 'thingcentric' methodologies that range from deeply personal autoethnographic reflections and close textual readings to carefully researched archival studies and rhizomatic explorations of an object's journey from one place and time to another.

Marlis Schweitzer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre at York University, Canada, and author of When Broadway Was the Runway: Theater, Fashion, and American Culture (2009). Her articles have appeared in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Performing Arts Resources, and The Drama Review (TDR) . She edits Theatre Research in Canada/ Recherches théâtrales au Canada.

Joanne Zerdy is an Instructional Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at Illinois State University, USA. She researches Scottish theatre and performance events, and cultural and environmental policies. Her essays have appeared in Contemporary Theatre Review, Theatre Research International, The Drama Review (TDR), and A Further Shore: Essays in Irish and Scottish Studies (2008).

Introduction: Object Lessons; Marlis Schweitzer and Joanne Zerdy
1. Technology and Wonder in Thirteenth-Century Iberia and Beyond; Christopher Swift
2. 'Nothing but a string of beads': Maud Allan's Salomé Costume as a 'choreographic thing'; Marlis Schweitzer
3. Cartomania and the Scriptive Album: Cartes-de-Visite as Objects of Social Practice; Nicole Berkin
4. The Linguistic Animation of an American Yorick; Lezlie C. Cross
5. House Arrest: Museological Performance and the Everyday; Margaret Werry
6. The Unfolding Roles of a Walking Map within NVA's Half Life; Joanne Zerdy
7. Military Memorialization and its Object(s) of Period Purification; Helene Vosters
8. Entided, Enwatered, Enwinded: Human/More-than-Human Agencies in Site-specific Performance; Minty Donald
9. 'All Transparent': Pepper's Ghost, Plate Glass, and Theatrical Transformation; Aileen Robinson
10. Que(e)rying Theatrical Objects; Benjamin Gillespie
11. Making the Invisible Visible: Virtual Stage Props and Christopher Marlowe's Dr Faustus; Joanne Tompkins
12. Relic, Souvenir, or Just Hair?: Exploring the Complexities of Objects as Actants and Things as Mementos in the Merchandise of El Vez, The Mexican Elvis; Karen Jean Martinson
13. Props Breaking Character: The Performance and Failure of Real Objects on the Naturalist Stage; Kee-Yoon Nahm
14. Bodied Objects: An Analysis of the Whip in George Aiken's Uncle Tom's Cabin and Matthew Lopez's The Whipping Man; Chandra Owenby Hopkins
15. Translocalized Drums: Mobilizing the Intercultural in the Cantares Mexicanos; Leo Cabranes-Grant
Works Cited

Nicole Berkin, The Graduate Center, CUNY, USA
Leo Cabranes-Grant, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
Lezlie C. Cross, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA
Minty Donald, University of Glasgow, UK
Benjamin Gillespie, The Graduate Center, CUNY, USA
Chandra Owenby Hopkins, Converse College, USA
Karen Jean Martinson, Chicago State University, USA
Kee-Yoon Nahm, Yale University, USA
Aileen Robinson, Northwestern University, USA
Christopher Swift, New York City College of Technology, CUNY, USA
Joanne Tompkins, University of Queensland, Australia
Helene Vosters, York University, Canada
Margaret Werry, University of Minnesota, USA


'This valuable collection approaches performance through a focus on objects, and objects through a focus on performance. Across a variety of engaging essays, the book makes evident the range of new materialisms taking shape in and as performance studies as well as the contribution performance studies can make to the new materialist criticism.' - Rebecca Schneider, Brown University, USA
'Performing Objects and Theatrical Things is a stimulating, multifaceted intercisciplinary exploration of the theatrical and performance life of everyday objects in light of recent new materialist, actor network, 'thing' and other theories, held together by the conviction, as the editors say, that matter matters. It will be essential reading for students of theatre and performance for years to come.' - Ric Knowles, Editor, Theatre Journal 'This timely book offers multiple perspectives on the intersection between performance and materiality. With precision and daring, the essays analyze objects onstage, in archives, and in everyday life, as well as the material textures of performance itself. Marlis Schweitzer and Joanne Zerdy's masterful Introduction provides an ideal overview of the theoretical terrain, thus making the anthology accessible to those new to the field. This is a lively, useful, deeply interesting book.' — Robin Bernstein, author of Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights
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