‘Beauty Tigress Queen’: Staging the Thylacine in a Theatre of Species

Denise Varney

Abstract


Awareness of non-human species, both plant and animal, has lagged well behind theatre’s primary focus on the human drama. The associated human/nature and culture/nature binary oppositions play out in theatre as character and setting, as metaphor and as landscapes of the human mind. In the modern era, theatre that aspires to be political or efficacious, or that believes itself to have a transformative effect on human consciousness, typically stages the social relations of class, race, gender and sexuality and takes on broad themes of war, justice and human rights. The non-human is represented as space, place, prop, pet, metaphor or allegory. From the 1990s, however, theatre scholars such as Arons, Chaudhuri, May, Kershaw, Tait and others have raised an ecocritical awareness within the field while theatre itself is becoming more overtly environmental in theme and content if not form. This article discusses a provocative work from the fringe that indicates an emerging critical and ethical conscious of the ‘more-than- human’ world: They Saw a Thylacine (Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2013).

Keywords


species; ecocriticism; performance; Tasmanian tiger

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