AbstractThis essay seeks to propose an alternative to the established connection between theatre and theory through the sense of sight by turning to recent developments in sound studies and analyzing theatrical performance that privileges an aesthetic of aurality over that of vision. In taking Complicite’s The Encounter as a primary example of aural immersion and connecting it to philosophies of listening from Jean-Luc Nancy to Hans-Georg Gadamer but also to the complex media history of sound, the essay offers a theoretical revaluation of the concept of resonance. Resonance opens up an alternative approach to performing thought and thinking in performance. Instead of championing the distance of reflection and critique alone as the core engagement shared by philosophers and theatre audiences, the listening practices in theatre return philosophy as much as cultural practice to a renewed emphasis on mutual responsiveness and dialogue.I am fundamentally indebted to Anna Street, with whom I collaborated on a joint conference presentation that framed questions of aurality, theatre and philosophy in British theatre of the 21st Century. Many of the questions we discussed then have influenced my thinking for this article, and I would not be as perceptive on any of them without her philosophically driven perspective and our engaged discussions.
Anglia – de Gruyter
Published: Mar 8, 2018
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