Becoming-Plant: Cultivating an Understanding of Queer Ecological Dramaturgy Through Estado Vegetal (2017)
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This thesis aims to cultivate an understanding of queer ecological dramaturgy through an analysis of Estado Vegetal (2017), a plant-based performance by Chilean theatre maker Manuela Infante. Using the notion of becoming-plant, as Infante described her dramaturgical practice in the artistic creation of Estado Vegetal, a possible queer ecological dramaturgy is practiced. I begin by exploring the ecological performance, starting from the notion of ecodramaturgy and the representational challenge it poses on human-nonhuman relationships in the theatre. By employing a queer ecological perspective, I create a territory for an understanding of queer ecologies entanglements with dramaturgy and the possibilities it provides for navigating the representational challenges of ecological theatre. Through a close reading of The Practice of Dramaturgy: Working on Actions in Performance by Georgelou, Protopapa and Theodoridou, I constitute a more substantial understanding of what queer ecological dramaturgy might entail, arguing for their intrinsic entanglement. Through the notion of becoming-animal by Deleuze and Guattari, I create an understanding of what it means to practice a becoming-plant. From a further exploration of Infante’s theatre practice and the dramaturgical procedures that were derived from that, I argue for a new way of thinking about ecological performance as an entangled practice of ecological thinking and dramaturgical practice establishing a theatre practice of embodied philosophy. From this perspective I point to the inherent queer ecological underpinnings that are weaving through this practice. By establishing that nature is queer, becoming-plant can be encountered as a practice seeping with queerness. From the conceptual tension created by the notion of becoming-with by Donna Haraway and Karen Barad’s notion of intra-action, I argue how Estado Vegetal makes explicit the way theatre is able to be a site for queer ecological experimentation by entangling all its human and nonhuman agents and by embracing the theatrical machine, working from within - revealing the potentiality of queer ecological dramaturgy.