Feeling the Gaze

Image and Affect in Contemporary Argentine and Chilean Performance

By Gail Bulman

Feeling the Gaze

352 pp., 6 x 9, notes

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6743-0
    Published: August 2022

North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures

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Distributed for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Romance Studies

Feeling the Gaze explores the visual elements in eight contemporary Argentine and Chilean theater performances. Gail A. Bulman shows how staged images can awaken spectators’ emotions to activate their intellect, provoking nuanced and deep contemplation of social, historical, and political themes. Ranging from simple props, costumes, body movements and spatial constructions to integrated media and digital images, the aesthetic components in these pieces engage to forge multifaceted storytelling, stimulate the public’s relation to memory, and create affective bonds that help build individual and collective social consciousness. Recent innovations in Southern Cone theatre aesthetics have been shifting traditional performance/spectator relationships and animating ideological discussions. The various works presented here give readers a holistic understanding of the emerging prominence of visuality and affect as a vehicle for political advocacy in Latin American theatre and performance. The book asks us to consider the formation of new spectator-performance bonds as authors, directors, and theatre groups increasingly turn toward alternative settings for their work. Lingering visual memories of the performances, together with the feelings that the performative experience stirs up, provide spectators with an enduring focal point through which to reflect on and judge what is “beyond” the performed scenes. Staged live in the Southern Cone and internationally since 2014, these plays demonstrate the transgressive power of the visual to make spectators see, feel, and potentially act against injustices and violence.

This study offers comprehensive critical discussions of Teatro Banda’s O’Higgins: un hombre en pedazos; Teatro Niño Proletario’s Fulgor; Mario, Luiggi y sus fantasmas’s Manual de carroña; Agustín León Pruzzo’s En la sombra de la cúpula; Teatro la María’s Los millonarios; Claudio Tolcachir’s Próximo; Sergio Blanco’s Tebas Land; and Lola Arias’s Doble de Riesgo.