Absence in/of the body: theatre praxis and embodied knowledge

Reading, K (2021) Absence in/of the body: theatre praxis and embodied knowledge. In: TaPRA Conference, 6 - 10 September 2021, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK [online].

Official URL: http://tapra.org/current/


This paper explores the absent body in physical space, both as spectators and makers of theatre, within an academic context. Moving between the narrative voices of autoethnographic writing and critical considerations, I will interrogate the notion of the mediatized body (Auslander, 2008) and dis-embodiment (Bleeker 2006) with a particular focus on presence and absence. To examine this further, I turn to debates around the body in performance (Birringer, 1993; Spackman, 2000) and more pressingly consult Sheppard (2006) Coetzee (2018), Coetzee & Munro (2010), Parker-Starbuck & Mock (2011) who discuss the body as a site of and as performance. To look at the notion of watching and creating, I will investigate the body as a site of performance within the teaching of performance, because within this context what is channelled is embodied knowledge through a subject that relies on praxis. This paper will re-examine how the body is theorized within and as performance (Melrose, 2006 & Shepherd, 2006) and look to build on prior studies of how embodiment and praxis is defined in the study of theatre (Meskin and van der Walt, 2018 & Jones, 2002). I will assert that online delivery, and its subsequent spectatorship, requires the rejection of the body and leaves a marked absence in the practice/praxis of the subject. We find ourselves teaching a subject that, at its core, relies on embodied presence, in a cerebral state alone, and this paper considers the enforced cesura and what that means for both making and watching live work.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2022 19:08
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2022 19:08
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/14690
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