- Editor's Note
As we enter the journal's thirty-second year, this issue of JDTC features six authors whose explorations of theatre and performance studies incorporate interdisciplinary scholarship related to phenomenology, the environment, ecology, religious philosophy, and socio-linguistics to analyze physical, ritualized, intersubjective, and queer spaces of identity and community. In his "Bathing in Liminality: Soaking Up History in Hot Springs, Arkansas," David Eshelman describes and examines bathing rituals in the immersive, performative space of the bathhouses at Hot Springs, Arkansas, pointing to the bather's active role in transforming that communal and historical space. Relatedly, the author suggests how the body-focused bathhouse experience and environment unsettle distinct spaces of gender, sexuality, and social class. Our present age's concern with holistic spirituality and the environment, extending to ecological concerns, have led scholars to view literary and dramatic work through the lens of ecocriticism. In her article, "Shakespeare as Ecodrama: Ecofeminism and Nonduality in Pericles, Prince of Tyre," Miriam Kammer focuses on the natural world and its physical and symbolic representation in Shakespeare's tragicomedy, Pericles, drawing attention to the spatiality of landscape as related to identity—and gender—in her ecofeminist reading of the play. By situating her analysis in ecocriticism and emphasizing the connection between culture and nature, she suggests the encompassing role of religious beliefs and ethics, not only in the Jacobean world, but also for our own times.
Claire Maria Chambers aptly applies the writings of Levinas in "The Embodied Apophaticism of Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul," revealing the ethical realm of embodied existence in encountering "the Other." She centers her discussion on apophatic bodies and performance philosophy to examine the dramatization of Self and Other in Kushner's postmodern theatrical work. Moreover, Marc Silverstein offers a philosophical exploration of intersubjectivity in "'There is a Limit to the Magic Powers of Language': Will Eno and the Dispossession of Being." He shows us how Eno's dramatization of our human condition presents a linguistic-ontological state, marked by the inability of language to express it. The author refers to this condition as an "unhomedness," using Lacanian psychology to suggest the metaphysics of presence and loss inherent in Eno's work. In this way, he addresses the fragility of our cultural moment that may be characterized by a crisis of Being and the fragmentation of Self. Michael Y. Bennett too positions his inquiry in contemporary drama with "The Chorus 'In between': 'Rep and Rev[ing]'Athenian Drama in Suzan-Lori Parks's Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom." He explores the intersection of language and hybrid spaces in his focus on Parks's reimagining of the ancient Greek chorus, disclosing how cultural identity may be re-formed according to difference in gender, race, and nation within a liminal space. Finally, Vanessa Campagna expands our understanding of [End Page 7] space and hybridity in "Gesturing Toward Queer Utopia: The Children's World of Paula Vogel's And Baby Makes Seven." She applies queer theory to demonstrate that Vogel's play reconfigures new family structures in a queer utopia. Our authors invite us to reconsider how theatre performance creates utopian spaces, invoking Jill Dolan's eloquent description of utopia as "a placeholder for social change, a no-place that the apparatus of theatre—its liveness, the potential it holds for real social exchange … can model productively."1 While utopian spaces may represent a "no where," an "unhomedness," or a not-there-yet place, may we not reflect upon the formation of new, "in-between" spaces in which to engage performatively in cultural and community belonging?
I want to acknowledge and thank those who have made this journal issue possible. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Theatre at the University of Kansas. Thanks also go to our deserving editorial staff at JDTC. We are in flux. To Chris Woodworth, thank you for your two steady years of service as Book Review Editor for the journal. Good luck in your future professional endeavors. I am delighted to announce our incoming Book Review Editor, Dr. Jocelyn L. Buckner, Assistant Professor of Theatre at Chapman College...