The Forest and the Field is a polemical thinking-through of the whole concept of theatre as a ‘space’, and a politically motivated exploration of how, and where, that theatrical space meets the real world that surrounds and suffuses it.
The book begins by demolishing the notion of the ‘empty space’ and drawing careful and suggestive distinctions between ‘space’ and ‘place’. It moves on to consider how the body – of the actor, or of the spectator – is read within the theatrical encounter, and how meaning is created in the turbulent movement of signs between performer and audience. Finally it interrogates the wider relationship between theatre and its ‘outside’, culminating in an attempt to answer the familiar question of whether theatre can change the world – and, if it can, how it might.
‘Using Chris Goode’s terminology, this is a book for ‘makers against-the-grain’. But it’s also for anyone living under capitalism who has ever thought about art. The breadth of Goode's frame is mind-boggling: his subjects range from theatre to poetry to the photographs of Ryan McGinley; from Marina Abramovic to John Berger to Rogers and Hammerstein; from the queerness of noise to the poetics of nakedness. No one thinks into his subject more deeply and no one writes with more rigour and more candour. This book is burrowing, roaming, illuminating, respectful - but it’s also unafraid to take a swipe where a swipe is needed. It’s personal and passionately reasoned. It reads like a fiercely brainy love letter from someone who believes for dear life that theatre can change the world and that the world needs changing. The Forest and the Field is not easy. It should not be easy. It will require your attention. But your attention will be rewarded.’ Tim Crouch
'Anyone who follows theatre will know that Chris Goode is a poet and theatre-maker who's up there with the very best.' Guardian
'Chris Goode has been described as British theatre's greatest maverick talent. But don't be put off: his work as a director, writer and actor is much more enticing than that label suggests. ' Independent on Sunday
Oberon books, 2015. 13,8 cm x 21,6 cm, 352 pages, paperback with black & white images throughout.