Madness, Resistance, and Representation in Contemporary British and Irish Theatre
Venn, Jonathan Edward
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I am looking for a three-year embargo, as I am seeking publication on the basis of this thesis, and will require this time to shift it appropriately.
This thesis questions how theatre can act as a site of resistance against the political structures of madness. It analyzes a variety of plays from the past 25 years of British and Irish theatre in order to discern what modes of resistance are possible, and the conceptual lines upon which they follow. It questions how these modes of resistance are imbibed in the representation of madness. It discerns what way these modes relate specifically to the theatrical, and what it is the theatrical specifically has to offer these conceptualizations. It achieves this through a close textual and performative analysis of the selected plays, interrogating these plays from various theoretical perspectives. It follows and explores different conceptualizations across both political and ethical lay lines, looking at what composes the theatrical practical critique, how theatre can alter and play with space, how theatre capacitate the act of witnessing, and the possibility of re-invigorating the ethical encounter through theatrical means. It achieves this through a critical engagement with thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Henri Lefebvre, Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas. Engaging with the heterogeneity of madness, it covers a variety of madness’s different attributes and logics, including: the constitution and institutional structures of the contemporary asylum; the cultural idioms behind hallucination; the means by which suicide is apprehended and approached; how testimony of the mad person is interpreted and encountered.
PhD in Drama