In preparing a book chapter on British auteur Katie Mitchell, from which this paper is drawn, Solga is specifically interested in the way Mitchell disrupts "naturalist time" in two productions: A Woman Killed With Kindness (2011) and The Cherry Orchard (2014).
As many of my UK colleagues know, I've been harping on realism and naturalism for some years now, trying to rethink their political power in an era of rampant precarity and increasingly naturalised neoliberalism. I'm in the process of preparing a book chapter on British auteur Katie Mitchell, and in this chapter, from which this paper is drawn, I'm specifically interested in the way Mitchell disrupts "naturalist time" in two productions: A Woman Killed With Kindness (2011) and The Cherry Orchard (2014). My theoretical framework centres on the notion of “precarious time” – articulated variously by Jonathan Crary (24/7), Tavia Nyong’o (“The Scene of Occupation”), and others collected in Ridout and Schneider’s special volume of TDR on precarity and performance – as a means of disrupting the narrative time signature we associate with naturalist stagecraft. Modernist naturalism operates on a parabolic arc, moving toward a series of minor climaxes at the “top” of which the conclusion begins to loom, for savvy spectators, into view. What I am calling "precarious naturalism" disrupts that arc with alternative time and space “signatures” that bring the very structural progressions of modernist naturalism into view, in the process posing questions about how the manipulation of time and space frames not (or not just) spectatorial experience under naturalism, but also the affective work of characters as well as actors operating within the constraints of the genre. Drawing “precarious time” as the time of labour and living under neoliberal capitalism into conversation with the temporal and spatial conventions of naturalist dramaturgy and performance praxis, I argue that a contemporary naturalism attuned to the arcs of precarious labour holds a unique power to disentangle naturalism from its “naturalized” relationship to linear forward momentum, and in that disentangling poses questions about the nature of human labour in the (con)strained world of the neoliberal “performance economy” today.
29 Jun 2016 - 6:30pm