For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Animal Labour in the Theatrical Economy"

by Ridout, Nicholas (2004)


In this article Nicholas Ridout argues that the work of the animal in theatrical performance generates an affective response which has both cognitive and potential value. Using examples of the appearance of animals on stage in recent work by Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio and Jan Fabre, it suggests that when animals are coerced into the making of meaning in theatre, the unease which their appearance provokes is not so much the result of an encounter with the irreducibly ‘other’ as a recognition of familiarity, proximity and a history of exploitation. That animals can readily be seen to be exploited on stage allows the possibility of the exploitation of humans being seen as part of the same economy and this same history.


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