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Staging Thought

Essays on Irish Theatre, Scholarship and Practice

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 V Performing Cultural Identities 253

Extract

Part V Performing Cultural Identities Aoife McGrath ‘The Less You Bump, The Faster You Go’?: Staged Scenes of Dissensus in CoisCéim’s Dodgems It is perhaps not so unusual to find the seductive, yet oftentimes empty, promise of ‘transportation to another world’ in the promotional material for a theatre performance. However, the hyberbole arguably came close to realization in the case of Irish dance company CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s Dodgems, which premiered at the 2008 Dublin Theatre Festival. In a curi- ous merging of the site-specific with the ‘painted stage’, the production involved the transplantation of a dodgems (or bumper-car) track, replete with twelve fully functioning dodgem cars, into Dublin’s O’Reilly Theatre in a bid to ‘captur[e] the lights, smells and sounds of the funfair’.1 Dodgems boasted one of the most highly anticipated and imaginative designs of the festival, yet I will argue that the concept resulted in more than just a crowd-pulling scenographic coup. This essay proposes that the interaction of the performers and the audience with the scenography in Dodgems suc- ceeded in creating a ‘world within a world’ that allowed for the emergence of previously invisible bodies in a choreographed space of dif ference and disagreement. To interrogate how this was achieved I will examine the intersection of the choreography of the dancing body with the social cho- reography of the cityscape and the politics of citizenship as they are made visible in the piece. Building on Jacques Rancière’s concept of ‘dissensus’, which he describes...

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