Theater of the Precariat: Staging Precarity in Alexander Zeldin’s Love

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Abstract

Several contemporary works of British theatre represent a new social group under formation, the precariat. A special feature of this theatre is its attention to how it feels to live in precarity and experience various forms of social and existential insecurity. Departing from an outline of the main theories of precarity within the social sciences and critical theory, the essay gives an overview of representations of the precariat in works of contemporary British drama, which may be classified as formative for the development of a new ”theatre of the precariat”. It then turns to a more detailed analysis of Alexander Zeldin’s play Love (2016), to illustrate how the interest in precarity manifests itself on both thematic and formal levels in the theatre of the precariat. The essay concludes with reflections on the potential political and ethical effects of contemporary theatre by discussing Zeldin’s method of collaboratively devising with the company as a way to oppose the precarization of artistic work and offer a model for social transformation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContemporary Literature
Volume61
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)335-361
ISSN0010-7484
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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