Animal Studies Journal


This article outlines how nonhuman animals are framed by the emotions of drama, theatre and contemporary performance and considers a distinctive tradition in western culture of enacting animal characters who function as surrogate humans. It argues that, contradictorily, while animal characters confirm anthropocentric emotionalism, drama also contains pro-animal values and concern for animal welfare. Animals embodying emotions in theatrical languages are part of the way animals are used in the traditions of western culture and to think and philosophize with, but they also indicate thinking about the emotions in theatrical performance. The article considers if, however, staging living animals can challenge or utilize anthropocentric emotionalism and whether such practices can support the ethical effort to draw attention to other animal species.