This book brings the insights of theatre theory to the jurisprudential, in order to elaborate a new practice of responsibility. The theatrical, which here forms the basis of a theatrical jurisprudence, draws upon the forms of theatre theory that took shape in the 20th century, as they constitute training in a particular form of morality, inculcating a sense of responsibility beyond the self. Such forms of conduct are deeply resonant with the intentions of the jurisprudential, but with one key difference. The training of the performer is one that is rigorous and demanding, working with the body as well as demanding an awareness of self in and through time and space. This, then, is a training designed to inculcate responsibility through the body as well as the mind. Law necessarily discards the body as having no role in its interpretative practice. Indeed bodies are abjured by law, theologically, philosophically, politically and pragmatically. The body might be the subject of regulation and control, but the one thing that law and its jurisprudents seek to avoid is their own bodily responses and reactions. In contrast, theatrical jurisprudence is grounded on the materiality of bodily encounters. Demanding a self-awareness and responsiveness on the part of the lawyer and jurisprudent, it insists on bringing a deeply engaged self-awareness into law’s interpretative practices.
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Marett Leiboff is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Wollongong, Australia
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