One hurdle

My dissertation proposal has been approved!! Sparing you the boring academic bibliography bit, here it is in a nutshell. You can look forward to many obsessive posts on this subject in the future.

The aim of this dissertation is to use a performance-based approach to understand questions of identity for the performer when approaching historical texts. Marvin Carlson argues in The Haunted Stage that audiences bring with them the history of a performance, so are never simply watching the performance in front of them; instead, they are seeing the current performer, all previous performers, and their ideal version of the character. This supposition is problematic artistically, as it creates a barrier of communication; added filters through which the artistic message of a piece needs to permeate. Using Sartre's ideas of Being and Perception in Being and Nothingness as a starting point (to be is to be perceived), I will examine perception of a performer and perception of a character as they are mediated through re-writes of the same story in different contexts. The filters of audience context and re-imagined characters interplay to impact engagement with the work; I endeavor to explore how these filters function in performance, and what can be done from a creative perspective to counteract them or make use of them. I have selected Antigone as my base text as she is a familiar character in Western mythology, and through history, particularly in the 20th and 21st centuries, has been re-written numerous times, each instance changing the character of Antigone to serve the time. My goal is to develop, through workshopped performance, key findings on approaches that will aid the director in using these filters in a positive creative manner when creating work.

Key Research Questions
What being is perceived when audiences see a performance?
What impact do changes in text and context have on audience perception?
How can the practitioner utilize these in production?

Working with 1 male performer and 1 female performer, I will workshop:
Original Antigone - Masked Male performer
Transitional Antigone - Becoming Female
Dionysian Antigone - Music & Opera
Politicized Antigone - 20th Century in Germany (Brecht)
Feminized Antigone - 20th Century in France (Anouilh)
Rebellious Antigone - 20th Century Ireland (Paulin)
Post-Colonial Antigone* - 20th Century Africa & South America (Osofisan, Gambaro, Sanchez)
Who do you see? Antigone's Identity

* Session 7 is subject to change: currently I am struggling to locate a copy of these plays. If I am unable to locate these texts, an alternate will be proposed for this session.

The 8 workshop subjects will serve to create material from which a work in progress performance will be devised. Each workshop will focus on exploring the questions of identity for the performer, using the source texts as a guide, and a physical theatre aesthetic. Within each session we will investigate the layers of performer identity; actor-self, character-self, character-perceived.