ma thesis theatre studies

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Connor Schumacher’s The Fool as a case against 24/7

Video still from the trailer of The Fool, showing the actor as the image of The Fool on the tarot card, one hand raised upwards, the other behind him.

The Fool by Connor Schumacher.

Download the thesis here.

A more encompassing summary of this thesis was published in the 9th issue of Danswetenschap in Nederland.


This thesis focuses on the case study of Connor Schumacher’s 2015 performance The Fool from the perspective of Jonathan Crary’s 24/7: Late-Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep. In 24/7 Crary discusses 24/7 as a problem at the centre of a society that never stops, predicated on the eradication of sleep. This creates permanent half-wake state in which natural cycles are phased out, a society in which there is no space for resistance and where commonality is lost. 24/7 is about the individual at the expense of others. The problem is characterised by technological advances that ultimately do little besides finding new ways of perpetuating old structures of power, structuring attention in favour of consumerism. By looking at the way in which The Fool structures its spectator’s attention, focussing in particular on how it creates self-awareness using Maaike Bleeker’s focalisation, and by discussing liminality and the ritual as well as collaboration and communitas as possible modes of resistance to 24/7 following Victor Turner, I posit that The Fool can be seen as a case against some of the problematic aspects of 24/7 that Crary discusses. This thesis analyses The Fool and discusses the collaboration between Schumacher, dramaturg Maaike Schuurmans and concept developer Luis Rios Zertuche, as well as the potential to resist 24/7 in their working process and collaboration. This thesis concludes that while The Fool is a sometimes subtle or ambiguous case against 24/7, it does direct audience attention in such a way that it creates awareness of some of the more heinous aspects of it. Furthermore, Schumacher, Schuurmans and Rios Zertuche also offer resistance in how they choose to work and in the themes they are drawn to.