Ethics of Play in Earpiece Performances by Nature Theater of Oklahoma and Gob Squad




performance philosophy


In Rhapsody for the Theatre, Badiou propped the notion of the ethics of play against a theory of the subject that had yet to be fully deployed. His reflection remains tentative and he simply suggests ‘that the actor could very well show a subject without substance,’ that ‘always between-two,  [the ethics of play] operates in the pure present of the spectacle, and the public […] gains access to this present only in the aftermath of a thought,’ and ultimately that ‘the ethics of play is that of an escape’ (Badiou 2008, 216, 221). There is a delay at work in the ethics of play, an in-between. By looking at Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s Life and Times and Gob Squad’s Gob Squad’s Kitchen (You never Had It So Good), this article proposes to examine how an ethics of play could be materially deployed in these earpiece performances through the delay, albeit minimal, the in-between text or instruction and their actualisation on stage.

Author Biography

Fred Dalmasso, Loughborough University

Fred Dalmasso is Lecturer in Drama in the School of Arts, English and Drama at Loughborough University. He has published on practice-based theatre-translation and on the interaction between theatre, performance, philosophy and politics. Among his recent publications are a chapter entitled ‘Remote Spectating - Drone Images and the Spectacular Image of Revolt’ in Fisher, Tony and Katsouraki, Eve (eds.) Performing Antagonism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and an edited book entitled Syncope in Performing and Visual Arts (Le Manuscrit, Via Artis, 2017). He is also a practitioner and works as artistic director and performer for collect-ifs.


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How to Cite

Dalmasso, F. (2017). Ethics of Play in Earpiece Performances by Nature Theater of Oklahoma and Gob Squad. Performance Philosophy, 3(1), 233–245.