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Author: Bess Rowen

Abstract

A theatrical riot is a nexus of various kinds of performance. They are moments when the performativity of a production meets an audience’s reaction, creating an event that spans the disciplines of Theatre, Performance Studies, History, Sociology, and more. Ireland is particularly well known for its theatrical riots, and the continuum created by these repeat events is as compelling as the individual examples. In 1926, a widow of the Easter Rising named Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington led a planned riot during Sean O’Casey’s play The Plough and the Stars because she found the play offensive to the memories of the Irish men lost in that conflict. She was not a theatre maker, unlike many of the other political figures of the time, nor did she want the play destroyed. Instead, she used the theatrical riot to open a political conversation about the ethics and timeliness of representation. Each Irish theatrical riot is the product of the combination of a particular production of a specific play, the socio-political situations occurring offstage, and the political importance that rioting has held in Irish theatrical history. Sheehy-Skeffington’s riot was no exception, and indeed she learned from the theatrical riots that had come before her. In this paper, I use Teresa Brennan’s affect theory (rhythmic entrainment), theatre history, and psychological phenomena such as groupthink and deindividuation to observe how these rioters generated their scandalous theatrical intervention as well as how this can be placed in the continuum of Ireland’s scandalous history of rioting over theatre. By focusing on this particular riot, in which a person outside of the theatre used the theatrical stage as a space for political protest, we can see how planned theatrical scandals reveal the power that theatrical representation, and theatrical protest, can have.

In: Theatre Scandals
Author: Bess Rowen

Abstract

A theatrical riot is a nexus of various kinds of performance. They are moments when the performativity of a production meets an audience’s reaction, creating an event that spans the disciplines of Theatre, Performance Studies, History, Sociology, and more. Ireland is particularly well known for its theatrical riots, and the continuum created by these repeat events is as compelling as the individual examples. In 1926, a widow of the Easter Rising named Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington led a planned riot during Sean O’Casey’s play The Plough and the Stars because she found the play offensive to the memories of the Irish men lost in that conflict. She was not a theatre maker, unlike many of the other political figures of the time, nor did she want the play destroyed. Instead, she used the theatrical riot to open a political conversation about the ethics and timeliness of representation. Each Irish theatrical riot is the product of the combination of a particular production of a specific play, the socio-political situations occurring offstage, and the political importance that rioting has held in Irish theatrical history. Sheehy-Skeffington’s riot was no exception, and indeed she learned from the theatrical riots that had come before her. In this paper, I use Teresa Brennan’s affect theory (rhythmic entrainment), theatre history, and psychological phenomena such as groupthink and deindividuation to observe how these rioters generated their scandalous theatrical intervention as well as how this can be placed in the continuum of Ireland’s scandalous history of rioting over theatre. By focusing on this particular riot, in which a person outside of the theatre used the theatrical stage as a space for political protest, we can see how planned theatrical scandals reveal the power that theatrical representation, and theatrical protest, can have.

In: Theatre Scandals
Social Dynamics of Turbulent Theatrical Events
Since the beginning of theatre history, scandals have taken place and the variety of causes, processes and types of interactions makes them an interesting object of study. Theatre scandals often indicate clashes with a dominant ideology or with the ideology of a particular group in society. Sometimes, following a scandal, the attacked ideology changes and incorporates the possibility of the aesthetics or themes that caused the clash. In this way, scandals can cause dynamic changes within cultural systems.
Next to theoretical considerations the contributors, all members of the IFTR Theatrical Event Working Group, present in their various case studies a wide cultural and chronological diversity of theatre scandals, all of which were experienced as very shocking moments in theatre history.
In: Theatre Scandals
In: Theatre Scandals
In: Theatre Scandals
In: Theatre Scandals
In: Theatre Scandals
In: Theatre Scandals
In: Theatre Scandals