Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Theatre and Performance


Peter Eckersall

Committee Members

Leonard Feldman

Maurya Wickstrom

Subject Categories

Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | Theatre and Performance Studies


Political Theatre, Althusser, Aesthetic Interpellation, Participation


The use of audience participation in political theatre has become a common feature of many performances. In this dissertation, I consider the dramaturgies of a number of political theatre performances that have premiered since 2011 and demand various forms of embodied audience engagement to elucidate the potential for theatre to produce a criticality about subjectivity and the processes of subjectivation. Drawing on the recent re-engagement with Althusser’s theory of interpellation by contemporary political theorists, I develop a theory of critical aesthetic interpellation, the strategic and self-reflexive play with the theatrical apparatus to defamiliarize the process of political subjectivation. These productions under discussion including work by Ivo van Hove, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Jeremy O. Harris, James Scruggs, and Taylor Mac, locate subjectivity as the site of politics, and consequently play with the ideological function of theatre to create aesthetic experiences that cause audience members to both recognize their imbrication within ideology and to critique that ideology in the hope of creating new forms of subjectivity to incite political action beyond the performance.

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