Performing Simulacra. Human/Animal Intersections in the Work of Sarah Kane
This article looks at the presence and function of animals in the dramatic works of Sarah Kane, a recognized protagonist of the experimental theatre scene in Britain and abroad. The by now massive scholarship on Kane has tended to see her work as epitomizing the move beyond the dramatic paradigm famously theorized by Hans-Thies Lehmann, and as equally marked by increasingly dehumanised constructions of subjectivity that culminate in the disembodied theatrical landscapes of her late plays. The research presented here addresses a hitherto unexplored dimension to Kane’s joint engagement with the boundaries of subjectivity and the boundaries of theatre, namely, the pervasive presence of animals across her entire oeuvre and their thought-provoking intersections with the human subjects with whom they share the stage. Through a combination of textual and performance analysis, I chart the complex, changing configurations of this relationship of co-habitation and mutual implication, offering an extensive discussion of the role of animals as key players in Kane’s dramaturgy of simulacra.
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