When the Spirits Are Socially Engaged: Journey to the Lower World by Marcus Coates

  • Silvia BattistaEmail author


This chapter is dedicated to the analysis of Journey to the Lower World (2004) devised by Marcus Coates that consisted of Coates performing a Shamanic journey for an audience of residents living in a tower block in Liverpool, which was listed for demolition. By engaging with studies on shamanism in contemporary, Western societies, new materialist studies, and the acknowledgement of the political aspects of the fool in theatre, this chapter investigates the performer’s ability to embody both the figure of the trickster and of spiritual guide. This entails studying him as a liminal figure which constantly moved between the comical and the spiritual; the possible and the impossible; imagination and reality; confusing them into one another for transformative purposes. Indeed, this chapter argues that his performance brought together the sacred and the profane into a space where faith, humor, hope, imagination and suspicion were employed to empower collective cohesion. A different perspective is suggested when looking at the aftermath of the journey and at the politics used by Coates to achieve his artistic objective.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Drama, Dance and Performance StudiesLiverpool Hope UniversityLiverpoolUK

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