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Dramaturgy Database

Performance Theatre and the Poetics of Failure: Forced Entertainment, Goat Island, Elevator Repair Service.

In Performance Theatre and the Poetics of Failure, Sara Jane Bailes begins with Samuel Beckett and considers failure in performance as a hopeful (dramaturgical) strategy. She examines the work of internationally acclaimed UK and US experimental theatre companies Forced Entertainment, Goat Island and Elevator Repair Service, addressing accepted narratives about artistic and cultural value in contemporary theatre-making. Her discussion draws on examples where misfire, the accidental and the intentionally amateur challenge our perception of skill and virtuosity in such diverse modes of performance as slapstick and punk. Detailed rehearsal and performance analysis are used to engage theory and contextualise practice, extending the dialogue between theatre arts, live art and postmodern dance.

This abstract is the original abstract of the book with minor adjustments.


Bailes, Sara Jane. Performance Theatre and the Poetics of Failure: Forced Entertainment, Goat Island, Elevator Repair Service. London: Routledge, 2011.