The Environment on Stage: Scenery or Shapeshifter? investigates a pertinent voice of theatrical performance within the production and reception of ecotheatre. Theatre ecologies, unavoidably enmeshed in the environment, describe the system of sometimes perverse feedback loops running through theatrical events, productions, performances and installations. This volume applies an ecoaware spectatorial lens to explore live theatre as a living ecosystem in a literal sense. The vibrant chemistry between production and reception, and the spiralling ideas and emotions this generates in some conditions, are unavoidably driven by flows of matter and energy, thus, by the natural environment, even when human perspectives seem to dominate.
The Environment on Stage is an intentionally eclectic mix of observation, close reading and qualitative research, undertaken with the aim of exploring ecocritical ideas embedded in ecotheatre from a range of perspectives. Individual chapters identify productions, performances and installations in which the environment is palpably present on stage, as it is in natural disasters such as floods, storms, famine, conflict and climate change. These themes and others are explored in the context of site-specificity, subversive spectators, frugal modes of narrative, the shifting ‘stuff’ of theatre productions, and imaginative substitutions. Ecotheatre is nothing less than vibrant matter that lets the environment speak for itself