Optative theatre: a critical theory for challenging oppression and spectacle
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AbstractThe goal of this thesis is to develop a powerful new socio-theatrical paradigm for the 21st Century: the optative theatre. Exploring the state of oppression in the new millennium, the shortcomings of standard theatrical paradigms, and explosions in critical discourse and new technology, this thesis proposes that a new activist and user-based theatre is both necessary and desirable in order to overcome the dragooning of theatre, society, and humankind. Drawing primarily from the fields of Cultural and Theatre Studies, especially as they relate to Cultural Resistance and Global Justice, the Situationist notion of Spectacle is examined as an oppressive force that quagmires and devastates the whole of humanity. Critical thinking is provoked regarding human behaviour and dramatic performance on the world stage, and concepts of revolutionary theatre and theatrical revolution are examined in depth as they relate to Spectacle and the liberation of humanity. Based on the concept of counter-hegemonic playing, the highly activist optative theatre is portable, user-friendly, and free. Designed to inspire critical reflection and humanist transformation, optative theatre proposes that by adopting an anti-oppressive foundation to human identity, it is possible to employ theatre activism to challenge oppression in all its forms - by meta-theatrically playing the provocateur, and hence by living in action. With the ability to create instant virtual realities, optative theatre provides both a tool for critical reflection and a theatrical strategy for challenging oppression on personal, cultural, and structural levels of society. Furthermore, as a viral form of theatre, it has the potential to spread rapidly.
Bibliography: p. 251-262