Ruptured relations : guerrilla theatre, time & Pranksterish disability performance practice

Hadley, Bree J. (2013) Ruptured relations : guerrilla theatre, time & Pranksterish disability performance practice. In Now Then : Performance & Temporality, Performance Studies international (PSi) Conference 2013, 25-29 June 2013, Stanford University, CA. (Unpublished)

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Guerrilla theatre tends, by its very definition, to pop up unpredictably – it interrupts what people might see as the proper or typical flow of time, place and space. The subversive tenor of such work means that questions about ‘what has happened’ tend to the decidedly less polite form of ‘WTF’ as passersby struggle to make sense of, and move on from, moments in which accustomed narratives of action and interaction no longer apply. In this paper I examine examples of guerrilla theatre by performers with disabilities in terms of these ruptures in time, and the way they prompt reflection, reconfigure relations, or recede into traditional relations again - focusing particularly on comedian Laurence Clark. Many performers with disabilities – Bill Shannon, Katherine Araniello, Aaron Williamson, Ju Gosling, and others – find guerrilla-style interventions in public places apposite to their aesthetic and political agendas. They prompt passersby to reflect on their relationship to people with disabilities. They can be recorded for later dissection and display, teaching people something about the way social performers, social spectators and society as a whole deal with disability. In this paper, as I unpack Clark's work, I note that the embarrassment that characterises these encounters can be a flag of an ethical process taking place for passersby. Caught between two moments in which time, roles and relationships suddenly fail to flow along the smooth routes of socially determined habits, passersbys’ frowns, gasps and giggles flag difficulties dealing with questions about their attitude to disabled people they do not now know how to answer. I consider the productivity, politics and performerly ethics of drawing passersby into such a process – a chaotic, challenging interstitial time in which a passersbys choices become fodder for public consumption – in such a wholly public way.

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ID Code: 68035
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Public Space Performance, Pranks, Guerilla Theatre, Spectatorship, Laurence Clark
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Drama Theatre and Performance Studies (190404)
Divisions: Past > Schools > Drama
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Bree Hadley
Copyright Statement: Bree Hadley
Deposited On: 04 Mar 2014 23:53
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2014 17:20

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