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Staging Thought

Essays on Irish Theatre, Scholarship and Practice

Edited By Rhona Trench

This collection of essays showcases the rich diversity of current writing about Irish theatre. The volume includes perspectives from experts in scenography, physical theatre, dramaturgy and stand-up comedy, as well as academic contributions drawing from anthropology, psychology, sociology, gender studies and performance studies. Exploring plays, events, exhibitions, performances, and rehearsal and realization processes, the essays provide a stimulating analysis of the languages and procedures of theatre in Ireland. The book demonstrates that performance studies and practices are continuing to expand, suggesting that Ireland’s text-centric theatre has begun to cast its net further afield and pointing to the rich possibilities within Irish theatre, scholarship and practice, now and for the future.


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Part II Theatre, Text and Performance 71


Part II Theatre, Text and Performance Enrica Cerquoni Ways of Seeing and the Womb-Theatre: Theatrical Space and Scenic Presentation in Marina Carr’s Ariel In what way does a work of art […] reach beyond its physical limits?1 In the theatre […] it is at the outer edges of a given space and particularly at the interface between two spaces, at the border zones, that the analysis becomes most interesting.2 In an Athenian krater3 of the second quarter of the fifth century, discov- ered in the Italian city of Orvieto, some human figures stand in a complex spatial arrangement within the imposing edges of the composition’s lower and upper frames. These frames appear to try to freeze the image and the human figures within it. Nonetheless, those figures, in the viewer’s percep- tual experience, seem to exert a tension of visual forces upward and outward, westward and eastward which attempt to break the forceful bounds of the composition. The viewer experiences figures and objects in the pictorial composition as resistant to containment and as striving to skip the spatial limits imposed by the frames. Such a visual paradox reveals the painter’s deliberate ambiguity in relat- ing pictorial space, human figures and the viewer in an attempt to make 1 Rudolph Arnheim, The Power of the Centre (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), 145. 2 Gay McAuley, Space in Performance (Ann Arbour: University of Michigan Press, 1999), 86. 3 A krater is a mixing bowl, a vessel of Greek and Roman antiquity. It...

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