Animal Studies Journal

Abstract

There is an anomaly in responses to some live performance that features animal identities and the human effort to provide sanctuary and protect endangered species. The animals might be central to its purpose and yet receive a perfunctory acknowledgement in reviews or not be mentioned. Reviews reflect audience responses and I first noticed this effect in reviews of Jenny Kemp’s Kitten in 2010 which was strongly concerned with issues of animal survival. I have been noting examples since. One recent example is provided by Hannie Rayson’s Extinction, whereby the tiger quoll seems to be dismissed as a plot device rather than recognized as a character in the human struggle to preserve animal lives. Is there a role for a quoll? This play opens in a wildlife rescue centre and the narrative depicts the ensuing moral compromises of the coal industry funding a quoll preserve, as well as how such a sanctuary has become inseparable from university research.