1st Edition

The Illuminated Theatre
Studies on the Suffering of Images

ISBN 9780415748278
Published May 14, 2015 by Routledge
198 Pages

USD $57.95

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Book Description

What sort of thing is a theatre image? How is it produced and consumed? Who is responsible for the images? Why do the images stay with us when the performance is over? How do we learn to speak of what we see and imagine? And how do we relate what we experience in the theatre to what we share with each other of the world?

The Illuminated Theatre is a book about theatricality and spectatorship in the early twenty-first century. In a wide-ranging analysis that draws upon theatrical, visual and philosophical approaches, it asks how spectators and audiences negotiate the complexities and challenges of contemporary experimental performance arts.

It is also a book about how European practitioners working across a range of forms, from theatre and performance to dance, opera, film and visual arts, use images to address the complexities of the times in which their work takes place. Through detailed and impassioned accounts of works by artists such as Dickie Beau, Wendy Houstoun, Alvis Hermanis and Romeo Castellucci, along with close readings of experimental theoretical and art writing from Gillian Rose to T.J. Clark and Marie-José Mondzain, the book outlines the historical, aesthetic and political dimensions of a contemporary ‘suffering of images.’

Table of Contents


List of illustrations



Rosemary Lee, Melt Down (2011); Sam Shepard and Field Day Theatre Company, A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations) (2013)

1 The Interpreters (On the Birth of Images)

Ernst Bloch, ‘Images of déjà vu’ (1924); Marie-José Mondzain, Homo Spectator (2007); Dickie Beau, LOST in TRANS (2013)

2 The Borders of the Marvellous (On Reconstruction and Returns)

Desperate Optimists, Helen (2009); Søren Kierkegaard, Repetition (1843)

3 Darkness and Doubles (On Theatrical Recognition)

Kinkaleri, Nerone (2006)

4 Is There Anybody There? (On the Crimes of Representation)

Bock & Vincenzi, The Invisible Dances (2004-2006); Simon Vincenzi, Operation Infinity (2008-2013)

5 Climates of Attention (On the Imaginary Theatre)

Alvis Hermanis, The Sound of Silence (New Riga Theatre, 2007); Fathers (Schauspielhaus Zurich, 2007); The Ice. Collective Reading of the Book with the Help of Imagination in Riga (New Riga Theatre, 2005)

6 Everybody Acts (On Friendship)

Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, The Art Show (1963-1977); Split Britches, Lost Lounge (2009); Forced Entertainment, The Thrill of it All (2010); Wendy Houstoun, Pact with Pointlessness (2014)

7 The Writing on the Wall (On Images and Acts)

Romeo Castellucci, Four Seasons Restaurant / Giudizio, Possibilità, Essere (2012-14); On the Concept of the Face Regarding the Son of God (2010); Orfeo ed Euridici / Orphée et Eurydice (2014); Gillian Rose, Mourning Becomes the Law (1996); T.J. Clark, The Sight of Death (2006)




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Joe Kelleher is Professor of Theatre and Performance at Roehampton University, UK. He is also Head of Department for Drama, Theatre and Performance. His previous publications include The Theatre of Societas Raffaello Sanzio (Routledge, 2007) and Contemporary Theatres in Europe: A critical companion (2006), co-edited with Nicholas Ridout.