Theatre and/as Hibernation – Oresteia in the Place of Animals

Bogdan Florea
20 min Presentation + 20 min Discussion
Blanka Chládková
Olavshallen: Kammersalen
An urgency of our times is the destruction of our environment and disappearance of animal and plant species. We, the theatre-makers at Nu Nu, ask ourselves: what can we do by means of theatre to reflect / respond to this? We agree that theatre's role is to positively influence humans, making them reflect, inspiring them to become wiser in their ways. We thought it important to start making work that could speak to humans about animals/the environment, giving them as much as possible an insight — a live experience — of how animals (particularly) live, move, exist. We wanted to “bring” animals/the environment on stage, so to speak, in order to represent their universes. We embarked on a project called Theatre in the Place of Animals, inspired by Gilles Deleuze’s advice that “a writer” — for us, a theatre-maker — “writes for non-readers: not intended for them but in their place. We should write in the place of animals! Not for, but in the place of animals that die.” We detail our research approach, exemplifying with material from the first stage of our project, called Oresteia in the Place of Animals, an adaptation (in the place of animals) of Aeschylus’s trilogy. We detail how we use information from environmental and animal studies as well as from conservation studies; how we observe human-animal interactions; and how we draw on our experiences with animals in order to inform a theatre in the place of animals. We detail how we employ photography, devise new(er) acting techniques, or use technology to bring onstage new speeds/rhythms, new points of view, interactions/reactions specific to animals. Finally, we discuss how our research strategy changes the temporal and visual parameters on stage, introducing new values such as lack of rhythm and logic, degrowth, anticlimax, boredom, bewilderment. A theatre of hibernation, saving on its logic-making and meaning-making energy, slowing down on the urge to entertain, to comfort or to be cathartic.

Bogdan Florea

Dr Bogdan Florea has recently finished a PhD thesis titled Actor in a Second Language. Bogdan is co-founder of Nu Nu Theatre and has published extensively and presented at UK, Finland, Switzerland, Poland, USA, Lithuania universities.