In Place of a Show: what happens inside theatres when nothing is happening (2016) is published by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. It is available for order through Bloomsbury, here, and other online retailers.
'Physical impressions, wide-ranging literary and philosophical references, and historical minutiae are woven together in a kind of performative writing that both informs and delights as one moves along among its constantly shifting patterns of association. Each section engagingly presents its information, as one expects from a thoughtful and well-crafted essay, but it adds to this the pleasure of unexpected associations and an almost musical flow of discourse.'
Prof. Marvin Carlson (Central University of New York). Read the full review here.
'We all have a Desert Island book we would harbour beyond Shakespeare’s works and the Bible that are pressed upon us along with those tracks. Mine is currently In Place of A Show […], just about the best theatre thing in the form of writing I have encountered since Kelleher’s The Illuminated Stage and Ridout’s Passionate Amateurs, sharing with both a genuine, evidential interest in theatrical scholarship, a gritty materialist grip, and the poetic generosity of Calvino, Sebald and Bachelard, the true heirs to this marvellous work.'
Prof. Alan Read (King's College London) Read the full review here
From the back cover:
In Place of a Show is a singular account of four theatre buildings from around the world: theatres stripped of their primary purpose, lying empty, preserved as museums, or demolished. Playfully combining first-person narratives, scholarly research and visual documents, Augusto Corrieri explores the material and imaginative potentials of these places, charting interconnections between humans, birds, vegetation, and the beguiling animations of inanimate things, such as walls, curtains and seats.
Across four chapters we learn of the uncanny dismantling and reconstitution of a German Baroque auditorium during the Second World War; the phantasmal remains of a demolished music hall in London’s East End; a Renaissance Italian theatre, fleetingly transformed into an aviary by the appearance of a swallow; and a lavish opera house emerging from the Amazon rainforest. In these pages we are invited to discover theatres as sites of anomalous encounters and surprising coincidences: places that might reveal the performative entanglement of human and nonhuman worlds.
‘In Place of a Show offers an experience of place through a performance of writing. This writing performance is both exquisite and expansive: exquisite in its detailed recording of observation and thought; expansive in its ambitious reach. As we read, we move – across geographies and histories, through chains of reference, over associative leaps. We move and are moved, as intellectual rigour couples emotional solicitation and writerly prowess leads to poetry.’
Dr Kristen Kreider, Reader in Poetry & Poetics, Royal Holloway, University of London
‘In Place of Show offers a clear rendering of the possibilities of what writing can do, what performance might be, and how the two reconfigure and inform one another. Each chapter presents a lesson in how an essay can cohere, not only as a rhetorical argument, but also musically, or according to a poetic derived from its subject.’
Matthew Goulish, Adjunct Professor in Writing, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
An introduction to In Place of a Show, by Augusto Corrieri