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Platform 7.2: Staging Play, Playing Stages

Posted on 04/12/2012

Platform 7.2: Staging Play, Playing Stages


In Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga influentially argues that play has permeated most aspects of human life, culture and ‘civilisation’. The pervasiveness of play in our contemporary world clearly manifests in the arts, media and entertainment: but logics of gaming also characterise human behaviours, discursive productions and practical operations in many other areas, including politics, economics, religion, rights, environmentalism, science, diplomacy, critical theory, conspiracy culture and even war. Furthermore, there seems to be an acute (perhaps ‘postmodern’) contemporary awareness of how developments or vicissitudes in these areas influence and are in turn influenced by ideologically or epistemologically framed and motivated strategies. The expression of this awareness may itself be playful, as recognisable, for example, in the banal, clichéd and yet, at the same time, serious assertion that politicians ‘play games’ with the public. With such observations in mind, distinctions between play and non-play are rendered questionable, suggesting a need to analyse and critically evaluate play as both a concept and practice.

The notions of ‘play’ and ‘playing’ not only describe theatre and performance processes, but are inscribed in the terminologies deployed to refer to their various components: from players to play texts. This suggests an intricate binding of theatre, performance and play. The opportunities for performance studies to engage with the abovementioned sociological, historical or anthropological complexities of play or play-thinking have long been recognised. Often, this recognition is implied by using performance itself as the frame for analysing aspects of sociocultural reality. But how might a specific focus on the imbrication of play and performance – an imbrication that might refer to theatre and play, performance and play, or theatre, performance and play – illuminate an approach to performance processes both on and off the stage?

This issue of Platform partly responds to the forthcoming TaPRA postgraduate symposium ‘Play in Performance Practices’ (scheduled 19 January 2013). However, we invite and encourage anyone with an interest in the themes of this call for papers to submit. We welcome contributions related, but not limited to the following themes:

  • play, performance and agendas in the public sphere
  • play and gaming in entertainment, knowledge and information
  • play processes and the global
  • play and precarity: risk, responsibility and trust
  • play and the virtual: computer games, digital worlds and performance
  • ecologies and systems of play
  • play and identity: role play, deception and reclamation
  • play and/as spectacle: circus, carnival, festival, sports
  • play and intoxication
  • play and chance
  • the politics of play in theatre and performance
  • play as subversive practice
  • histories of play
  • play across cultures / cross-cultural play
  • play as research / research as play
  • ludus/paidia in theatre and performance practice
  • games in public spaces
  • play and pedagogy
  • play and humour
  • play in therapeutic performance practices

Platform particularly welcomes postgraduate and early career research and encourages practice-as-research papers. We are also happy to consider new dramatic writing, performance writing, interviews, photographic essays, performance responses, and other creative work that speaks to our themes. We would like to encourage submissions not only from scholars of theatre, performance and dance, but also from those working in literature, politics, media arts, film studies, cultural studies and other related disciplines. In addition, we are happy to consider inter-/trans-/cross-disciplinary articles and provocations.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 27 February 2013.

Submissions should be 4000 words in length, and accompanied by a 200 word abstract. Please submit papers to platform-submissions@rhul.ac.uk

Submissions should be original, unpublished work. If required, all images should be appropriately captioned and attributed.

We ask that all potential contributors familiarise themselves with our submission guidelines. http://www.rhul.ac.uk/dramaandtheatre/platform/submissionsguide.aspx

With regards,

Adam Alston and Arifani Moyo, Editors


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