Hope/Less: The Politics of Metamodern Theatre

Conference paper


Drayton, T. 2019. Hope/Less: The Politics of Metamodern Theatre. 4th AHRC Metamodernism Network Conference. Radboud University, Nijmegen 03 - 05 Jul 2019
AuthorsDrayton, T.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

In 2016, Andy Lavender proclaimed that contemporary performance had reached an ‘age of engagement’; a theatre of ‘nuanced and differential negotiations, participations and interventions’ (Lavender 2016, 21). Daniel Shulze recently expanded on this by aligning the participatory audience to a re-emergence of authenticity within performance (Shulze 2017, 73). He sees this as reflective of a changing ‘structure of feeling’ akin to the concept of the metamodern; a strive towards a deeper, affective connection between actor, audience and community.

However, if metamodernism is characterised as an oscillatory movement between disparate polarities, as per Van den Akker and Vermuelen’s designation (2010), this resurgence for meaningful affect should, by association, be balanced by a fundamental detachment as well as an awareness of the futility of the theatrical form.

By focusing on a number of contemporary British productions, this paper examines how particular theatre makers are creating work that that strives towards a form of new sincerity and affect within performance whilst also remaining inherently aware of the frailty and falsity of such a position. These artists wholly believe in the power of theatrical engagement for social change but are also essentially critical of their own methodologies; both hopeful and hopeless in their strive towards the authentic. If the metamodern is to be located within contemporary theatre, it is in this theatre of hope/lessness.

KeywordsMetamodernism; Hope/lessness; Millennial; Political Theatre; Metamodern Theatre
Year2019
Conference4th AHRC Metamodernism Network Conference
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Completed05 Jul 2019
Deposited20 Feb 2023
Web address (URL)https://ahrc-metamodernism.co.uk/papers-from-the-nijmegen-conference/
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