Steve Wilmer is Professor Emeritus of Drama at Trinity College, Dublin, and was recently a Research Fellow at the Research Centre for ‘Interweaving Performance Cultures’ at the Freie Universität Berlin. Formerly Head of the School of Drama, Film and Music at Trinity College Dublin, he has been a Visiting Professor at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. He has written and edited twenty books and co-edited a special topic on ‘Theatre and Statelessness in Europe’ for Critical Stages in 2016. His latest book, Performing Statelessness in Europe, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018, and he has recently been appointed editor-in-chief of the Nordic Theatre Studies journal.
Théâtre du Soleil as Nomadic Art
With reference to Deleuze and Guattari on nomadism, and Rosi Braidotti on nomadic subjectivity, this essay will consider some of the nomadic performances, activities and characteristics of the Théâtre du Soleil. The theatre company has been experimental in developing new artistic forms, and egalitarian in welcoming different nationalities, languages, and ethnicities. Though Deleuze did not comment on their work, it exhibits specific features favoured by Deleuze and Guattari, such as transnationalism, communal property, becoming minoritarian, and desubjectivation. The dramaturgical strategies of Hélène Cixous and the innovative directing of Ariane Mnouchkine allow for multiple subjectivities and potentialities, especially in The Last Caravan Stop (Le Dernier Caravansérail), which traverses the world with boat people and other migrants, leaving behind their national identities. Alluding to Eugene Holland’s notion of ‘nomadic citizenship’ and Hardt and Negri’s concept of ‘global citizenship’, the essay will conclude with some suggestions about the tactical advantages of nomadic performativity in promoting multiplicities and human rights, and overcoming problems of identity politics, colonisation, and nationalism.