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Animal Acts

Performing Species Today
Edited by Una Chaudhuri and Holly Hughes


We all have an animal story—the pet we loved, the wild animal that captured our childhood imagination, the deer the neighbor hit while driving. While scientific breakthroughs in animal cognition, the effects of global climate change and dwindling animal habitats, and the exploding interdisciplinary field of animal studies have complicated things, such stories remain a part of how we tell the story of being human. Animal Acts collects eleven exciting, provocative, and moving stories by solo performers, accompanied by commentary that places the works in a broader context.

Work by leading theater artists Holly Hughes, Rachel Rosenthal, Deke Weaver, Carmelita Tropicana, and others joins commentary by major scholars including Donna Haraway, Jane Desmond, Jill Dolan, and Nigel Rothfels. Una Chaudhuri’s introduction provides a vital foundation for understanding and appreciating the intersection of animal studies and performance. The anthology foregrounds questions of race, gender, sexuality, class, nation, and other issues central to the human project within the discourse of the “post human,” and will appeal to readers interested in solo performance, animal studies, gender studies, performance studies, and environmental studies.

Video excerpts of several of the performances included in the book are available for viewing on the supplemental materials page.

Photo, front cover: from Stay! by Vicky Ryder, Lisa Asagi, and Stacy Makishi. Photo by Viki Ryder courtesy of the photographer.

Una Chaudhuri is Professor of English, Drama, and Environmental Studies at New York University.

Holly Hughes is a performance artist and playwright as well as Professor of Art and Design, Theatre and Drama at the University of Michigan.

Praise / Awards

  • "Animal Acts demonstrates the ways in which performance can be a space to imagine and enact possible futures and, in this case, alternative interspecies relationships. Scholars and students alike will find this collection a welcome contribution to the fields of animal and performance studies and their unique overlap."
    ---TDR: The Drama Review

Supplemental Materials

Video materials to accompany the anthology Animal Acts: Performing Species Now, edited by Una Chaudhuri and Holly Hughes. All performances staged at the University of Michigan’s Duderstadt Media Center, March 21-23, 2013.

1. Everything I've Got, written and performed by Jess Dobkin [excerpt]

2. The Dog and Pony Show (Bring Your Own Pony), written and performed by Holly Hughes; directed by Dan Hurlin [excerpt]

3. Cat Lady, written and performed by Joseph Keckler

4. Horseback Views: A Queer Hippological Performance, written and performed by Kim Marra; directed by Meredith Alexander [excerpt]

5. No Bees For Bridgeport, written, directed, and performed by Kestutis Nakas [excerpt]

6. With What Ass Does the Cockroach Sit? / Con Que Culo Se Sienta la Cucaracha?, written and performed by Carmelita Tropicana; directed by David Schweizer [excerpt]

7. MONKEY, written, directed, and performed by Deke Weaver with Jennifer Allen [excerpt]

Product Details

  • 254 pages.
  • 13 color and 4 B&W photos.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2014
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02953-2

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