Can I Join In? Playful Performance and Alternative Political Realities
Drayton, T. 2022. Can I Join In? Playful Performance and Alternative Political Realities. in: Koubová, A., Urban, P., Russell, W. and MacLean, M. (ed.) Play and Democracy: Philosophical Perspectives Routledge. pp. 108-124
|Koubová, A., Urban, P., Russell, W. and MacLean, M.
Extinction Rebellion's ten-day London occupation in April 2019 marked a turning point in the United Kingdom's growing awareness of the impending climate crisis. Alongside the activist group's disruptive repurposing of public spaces as areas for play to occur, participatory guerrilla street theatre groups led activists in collaborative, improvisational play throughout the occupied spaces. This participatory protest extolled the world-making potential of play, reflecting shifts in contemporary political theatre practices towards what can be termed the post-immersive; works that reclaim participatory theatre's activist roots by imagining and rehearsing alternative political realities in the theatrical space. Drawing on Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker's metamodernism, this chapter examines the central oscillation between silliness and seriousness in these activists’ and theatre makers’ playful response to crisis. Applying John Jordan's claim to the ability of political play to propose alternative realities, this chapter also importantly critiques the exclusion of particular demographics from the creation of such realities, with Extinction Rebellion's fetishization of arrests precluding minority ethnic and working-class activists from taking part. If playful, participatory protest can propose alternative political realities, who is able to engage in the creation of these new worlds? Who can join in?
|Protest; Political Theatre; Participation; Participatory Theatre; Play; Democracy; Metamodernism; Extinction Rebellion
|Play and Democracy: Philosophical Perspectives
|31 Dec 2021
|Publication process dates
|17 Feb 2023
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
|Web address (URL)
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