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QUORUM Postgraduate Drama Seminar: Jen Harvie – Wednesday 11 October 2017
11th October 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pmFree
The QUORUM seminar series always takes place in RR2, ArtsOne Building at QMUL in Mile End at 18:00.
Quorum welcomes Professor Jen Harvie (Queen Mary University of London) for the first research seminar of the academic year 2017-18. All Quorum events are free and open to everyone. Drinks and snacks provided.
Queen Mary University, London
Arts One Building, RR2.
Boom! Adversarial Ageism, Chrononormativity, and the Anthropocene in Split Britches’ ‘Ruff’ and Caryl Churchill’s ‘Escaped Alone’
In this presentation, I argue that emerging ‘chrononormatives’ of ‘generational warfare’ and ‘ageing crisis’ are culturally damaging and powerfully addressed by two of the most important feminist theatre companies/artists working in English, Split Britches in 2013’s Ruff, and Caryl Churchill in 2016’s Escaped Alone. Both works are entirely populated with women performer/characters aged around 70.
Elizabeth Freeman defines chrononormatives as ‘manipulations of time [that] convert historically specific regimes of asymmetrical power into seemingly ordinary bodily tempos and routines’. In this presentation, I propose as ‘chronormative’ the ‘generational warfare’ attributed to relations between so-called baby boomers (born between the mid-1940s and mid-‘60s) and Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000), and the ‘age crisis’ attributed to an increasingly ageing population. I argue that neither ‘generational warfare’ nor ‘age crisis’ is necessarily true; both are manufactured to legitimate what activist-author Naomi Klein identifies as the kind of ‘shock’ reform that is now pervasive in neoliberal capitalist cultures and that works against almost everyone’s best interests. I argue that RUFF and Escaped Alone stage intergenerational relations, old age, history, and time as more complex, dynamic, and non-linear than the chrononormative binary categorization that ‘generation war’ relies on.
Both works insist on intergenerational interdependencies, old age’s innate age-intersectionalism, time’s complexity, human connections to our epoch, and interdependencies of humans and our planet. The works critique chrononormative fetishisations of the now and the heteronormative. They refute binary narratives of generational competition which structure and legitimate inequalities and violence, including ecological neglect.
Jen Harvie is Professor of Contemporary Theatre and Performance at Queen Mary University of London. Her monographs are ‘Fair Play – Art, Performance and Neoliberalism’, ‘Theatre & the City’, ‘Staging the UK’, and ‘The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance’ (with Paul Allain). She has co-edited issues of Contemporary Theatre Review on globalization (with Dan Rebellato, 2006), the London 2012 Olympics/Paralympics (with KerenZaiontz, 2013), and feminism (with Sarah Gorman and Geraldine Harris, forthcoming 2018), and collections on devising with Andy Lavender (2010) and the work of Lois Weaver with Weaver (2015). With Rebellato, she co-edits Palgrave Macmillan’s series Theatre &and is currently co-editing The Cambridge Companion to British Theatre since 1945 (forthcoming 2020). Her other current work is on UK austerity culture and feminist theatre and performance.
Her Stage Left podcast is available on Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/
Twitter: @ProfJenHarvie and @StageLeft3