Mobile People, Weapons, and Data Streams; Mobile Audiences and Theatre Spaces: Rimini Protokoll’s Situation Rooms as a Globalised Theatre Experience

Christine Schwanecke 1
  • 1 University of Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany
Christine Schwanecke
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  • University of Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany
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  • Christine Schwanecke holds a Juniorprofessorship for the Study of British Literature and Culture at the University of Mannheim. She is writing her second thesis (Habilitation) on “A ‘Different’ Theory and History of English Drama: The Cultural and Performative Power of Dramatic Narration from the Renaissance to the Present.” Her publications include the monograph Intermedial Storytelling: Thematisation, Imitation and Incorporation of Photography in English and American Narrative Fiction at the Turn of the 21st Century (WVT, 2012), three co-edited volumes on literary theory and history and questions in the study of culture (e. g., questions of ‘experience and space’) as well as various articles, among them “Filmic Modes in Literature” (in: Intermediality: Literature – Image – Sound – Music, edited by Gabriele Rippl, De Gruyter 2015, pp. 268–286), and “The Performative Power of Unreliable Narration and Focalisation in Drama and Theatre: Conceptualising the Specificity of Dramatic Unreliability” (with Ansgar Nünning; in: Unreliable Narration and Trustworthiness: Intermedial and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, edited by Vera Nünning, De Gruyter, 2015, pp. 189–219).
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This article explores Rimini Protokoll’s 2013 performance piece Situation Rooms, which deals with movement and mobility in their various, currently most pressing shapes: it thematises the mobility of weapons, people, and data streams; it makes its audiences physically move; and it moves theatre itself – out of what Christopher Balme has called the ‘black box.’ The performance, which stages the dynamics between distance and nearness, makes mobility and movement graspable from challenging angles, and links them to the political, economic, and social workings of globalisation.

Therefore, this article investigates the political and social thrust of Situation Rooms by exploring its different kinds of mobility and examining how these kinds of mobility are characterised. It will also ask about the experiences of mobility that the production invites its recipients to make and with which it arguably creates an awareness of mobility’s social and political effects. Lastly, the article addresses the question of how the piece’s staging and its use of digital technology expresses the multifaceted kinds and experiences of mobility.

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The peer-reviewed journal focuses on issues in contemporary Anglophone dramatic literature and theatre performance. It renegotiates the understanding of contemporary aesthetics of drama and theatre by treating dramatic texts of the last fifty years. JCDE publishes essays that engage in close readings of plays and also touch upon historical, political, formal, theoretical and methodological aspects of contemporary drama, theatre and performance.