Taking the ferry: performing queasy affects through Irish abortion travel in Thorny Island and My Name is Saoirse
Contemporary Theatre Review
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Reason for embargo
Currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by the publisher. 18 month embargo required on publication.
This article focuses on queasy affects produced at sea in two recent Irish plays that identify the ferry as the means of travelling from Ireland to the UK for an abortion: Sarah Binchy’s Thorny Island (2012) and Eva O’Connor’s My Name is Saoirse (2014). First, I sketch the political, cultural, and historical context for the presence of the ferry in these plays. The following section analyses visible and imagined moments of performance where Stacy Alaimo’s concept of trans-corporeality is enacted as a queasy affect arising intra-actively across human and nonhuman bodies. Then, extending from these queasy affects, I propose that the space of the ferry simultaneously gestures towards what the feminist geographer Gillian Rose refers to as paradoxical spaces, confined and determined by hegemonic, masculinist structures of power, but also indicative of networks that evade these structures. I go on to address queasy affects in light of both Binchy and O’Connor’s stated intentions not to create political theatre, analysing how their own framing feeds into debates around affect, empathy, and political transformation in contemporary Ireland. The article concludes by arguing for the affective possibilities of a trans-corporeally attentive queasiness produced in performance via the ferry as it crosses the Irish Sea.
This is the author accepted manuscript.
Awaiting citation and DOI