Dr Louise LePage

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Personal profile

I am Lecturer in Theatre at the University of Reading. I have teaching and research interests in contemporary drama, the place and possibilities of robots in theatre, and posthumanist theory and theatre. 

As a researcher, my focus is primarily the analysis of play texts and performances, and the ways in which they engage with the wider world that constructs, frames, and intervenes in plays and performances in historically and materially interesting ways. I am interested in dramaturgy – in the kinds of aesthetics and ideas that structure play and performance texts. Importantly, my interest in plays and performance is focused by the driving question: what is a human? And more specific questions such as: What makes a human? What has s/he been and what might s/he be in the future? How does theatre and the wider world represent him/her in identity terms; or as a subject in political, historical, and philosophical terms; or as a performer or actor, whose acting approach or mode of performance is revelatory of certain assumptions about selfhood and the world? Such questions, of course, take me into the histories of theatre and of ideas, and my work is informed by theories such as posthumanism, its ostensible opposite: humanism, identity politics, poststructuralism, and philosophy of mind, to name a few. 

My distinguishing interests in posthumanist theatre practices build upon my doctoral research: ‘Beyond Character: A Post/Humanist Approach to Modern Theatre' (2012). Recently this interest has been pursued in relation to robots in theatre. The science fictional qualities that attach to robots are significant, but robots' manifestations in more mundane dramatic and performance contexts, given our ostensible entrance into ‘An Age of Robots,' carry with them present-day implications for posthumanist being, identity, performance, liveness, and society. My current research analyzes the place of robots in plays and on stages alongside humans as ‘performers' of particular characters with particular identities and roles to play in imaginative and real-world contexts and will culminate in a chapter for a forthcoming Palgrave book, Twenty-First Century Drama.

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