Quietude, Restlessness and Uproar: Towards an Ethics of Speech and Silence in ‘In Eldersfield, Chapter One: Elegy for Paul Dirac’ | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1757-1979
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1987



The article is presented as a response to a recent work which I co-devised and in which I performed. It is intended to draw correlations between performance and ethical philosophy to explore speech and silence as potentially traumatic encounters with the Other. Elegy at once reveals and obscures the physicist Paul Dirac, a legendarily taciturn figure, in response to the following anecdote: sitting in the laboratory at St. John’s College, Cambridge, a colleague asked him: ‘Where are you going on your holidays?’ Twenty minutes later, he replied: ‘Why do you want to know?’ Staging this silence and stillness in real time, in the middle of an hour-long show, Elegy implicitly suggests Dirac’s quietude as a response to trauma. The article also reflects on Elegy to reconsider the virtues of patience and passivity in a performance culture increasingly defined by an immediacy of response and of proliferating new modes of agency.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): ethics; historiography; live art; performance; theatre
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