Carnival Tempests and Strange Showers Indeed: The Politics of Spatial Praxis in the De La Guarda Flying Machine

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2004-05-06

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Período Villa Villa, the genre-bending, multi-layered spectacle-aerobatic-festival-dance-music-circus-rave-ceremony-environmental theatre hybrid created by the Argentinean performance troupe De La Guarda, made its off-Broadway debut on Tuesday, 9 June 1998. Flying through the stratosphere attached to ropes and harnesses, falling from the sky in order to engage the spectatorial body in effusive e/motional explosions, bringing a modicum of the streets indoors to generate another world, the company resists, subverts or even transcends passive codes of audience behavior and reception ensconced in conventional theatre spaces. In doing so, Villa Villa potentially transforms the sense of place engendered by the architectonics of discipline and the semiotics of corporatism which dominate its theatrical and cultural milieu. Combining participant-observation, semio-phenomenological analysis and a polyphony of interdisciplinary perspectives, this thesis investigates the possibility of a radical, carnivalesque spatial praxis in the center of the late capitalist theatre estate. Perhaps, as I argue, this is a different marketplace altogether.

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