Browsing by Subject "Theatre and Performance"
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- ItemOpen AccessAn African Dream Play = Isivuno Sama Phupha : reconstructing the spirit of ubuntu in the contemporary urban 'village' through theatre(2008) Mbothwe, Mandla; Fleishman, MarkMy project proceeds from the question: What might an African Dream Play be for the 21 st Century? Or how might dreams be used to generate content and presentational form as well as to influence the way in which the audience experience or participate in the performance event? My interest in the African Dream Play lies in a belief that it might provide a means of reconstructing the spirit of ubuntu through theatre. It seeks - both in process and presentation - to include in this reconstruction, that which is popularly known as moral regeneration - which I see rather as spiritual regeneration. My contention is that we, and particularly young people, are living in a social and spiritual crisis and the African Dream Play attempts a trans formative intervention within the dynamic fabric of the contemporary urban 'village'-a space of many cultures, languages, ideologies and levels of economic status. This explication sets my practical research and the production Isivuno Sama Phupha in particular, in a theoretical framework and performance historical context. It draws on the theories of Victor Turner, specifically his concepts 'liminality' and 'communitas' and his idea of the social drama. It then traces the evolution of my theatrical research: first through an interest in cultural and religious practices prevalent in the townships around Cape Town and how they might be used to generate material for the theatre and an aesthetics of presentation that could stimulate the communitas experience for both the performers and the audience; then, on to dreams and how they might provide the stimulus for my envisaged theatre by utilizing an experience of their essential liminality.
- ItemOpen AccessBreaking heterosoc, making a queerworld: using a queer directorial aesthetic to re-envision Hedda Gabler(2011) Rademeyer, Philip; Hyland, GeoffreyThis essay explicates the queering of a seminal realist text, Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, by means of a queer directorial aesthetic. Using queer theory, the heterosexual matrix (built on a rigid gender binary) and the nuclear family are posited as the crux of heteronormativity, which is the assumption and expectation that subjects are heterosexual.
- ItemOpen AccessBringing dance into the realm of theatre : Making sense differently for actors and audiences(2014) Kweyama, Mdunyiswa; Fleishman, MarkThis study investigates what happens when dance is introduced into the realm of theatre. Firstly, it looks at how the audience relates to the combination of dance and text. Secondly, it questions whether dance contributes to the actors’ experience of creating a play. To explore these questions, two productions were created. The first was an adaptation of an existing play text that had already been performed in a realistic style; and the second was based on a novel, a text that was not originally written for performance, but which was adapted. The study argues that the presence of dance allows the audience to understand a play more viscerally, rather than only intellectually. Furthermore, it finds that adding the physicality of dance helps actors access emotions in a different way than working with only a script would allow them. The study draws on the theories and practices of a number of theatre practitioners such as Antonin Artaud, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Eugenio Barba, and dance choreographer Pina Bausch. It also focuses on Mathew Reason and Dee Reynolds’s theorizing of ‘kinesthetic empathy’as well as Josephine Machon’s theory of ‘visceral performance'.
- ItemOpen AccessChallenging the structures of power : an introduction to Citizen Theatre(2007) Jusa, John; Weare, ChristopherIn this paper I explore and develop the notion of Citizen Theatre. Chaper 1 sets the contextual background that influenced my theory and practice. I examine the theory of structures of power as expounded by Magaisa (2006), and how it is applicable to Zimbabwe, In this chaper I briefly refer to the history of the liberation struggle and the current situation in Zimbabwe as a way of tracing the development of propaganda that informs the structures the power in Zimbabwe.
- ItemOpen AccessChosi Ntsomi! making a Xhosa theatre identity by adapting Nongenile Masithathu Zenani's folktale about a rite of passage for Xhosa girls(2012) Tshazibane, Mfundo; Morris, Gay; Hyland, GeoffreyInspired by the performativity of Xhosa cultural belief systems, my study aims to develop dignified theatrical roles for African women. This essay explores the potential of perceptions of Xhosa cultural women, configured in oral storytelling, as a means towards developing a base for Nguni theatre. This explication speaks to the capacities of African women models in re-shaping an ancient storytelling tradition for the development of South African theatre. The focus is on the recordings of a late matriarch, Nongenile Masithathu Zenani's storytelling sessions in Xhosa and the possibilities these present for a post-apartheid and postcolonial South African theatre stage. This research traces the boundaries set by the Xhosa culture, first on women, and secondly on performance. It unlocks the meaning and the significance of traditional song and dance, space, audience and stage properties, and the actual and potential uses of each of these aspects in making an Nguni classical theatre. The explication develops a vocabulary for theatrical performance derived from a rural South African perspective and explored in an urban setting. It establishes commonalities between the stories - narrated and performed - and the audience, concerning issues pertaining to (Xhosa) womanhood in post-apartheid South Africa.
- ItemOpen AccessCollaborating in No man's land : an enquiry towards creating an environment for 'equal' collaboration between international partners in an applied theatre project(2009) Streek, Katy; Morris, GayThis dissertation is an enquiry towards creating an environment for 'equal' collaboration between international partners in an applied theatre project. As a direct case study, I used my master's fieldwork project, No-man's land, a theatre project involving performers from South Africa and The Netherlands. The problematics of international exchanges in which people, resources and art works are brought together over long distances, generates issues around power, culture and the performing arts which demand attention from project partners. The term 'No Man's Land' isthe metaphor developed throughout this dissertation in order to conceptualise the space of collaboration, as well as the mentality such a collaboration necessitates. The focus here is on international collaboration projects within the field of applied theatre that have the potential to unite artists from different backgrounds to explore issues of mutual interest through theatre processes and performances.
- ItemOpen AccessCreating and inhabiting heightened theatrical landscapes(2006) Muftic, Sanjin; Hyland, GThis essay charts the theoretical background to my approach as a director with regards to creating and inhabiting Heightened Theatrical Landscapes. Primarily it deals with the role of the director as the actor's guide into to an extended space where the actor is the audience's envoy into the unlived human experience. It is a supporting document to my final production of The Possibilities by Howard Barker and it forms a partial fulfillment of an MA degree in Theatre & Performance as undertaken from the position of a director. The essay focuses particularly on the director's role whilst creating with the actors in rehearsals for a production. Firstly, I identify the term “Heightened Theatrical Landscape” and associate it with the works of other theatre practitioners, drawing particularly from the writings and productions of Antonin Artaud, Jerzy Grotowski and Howard Barker, and specifically inspired by the latter's Theatre of Catastrophe. I will stipulate the major characteristics of a Heightened Theatrical Landscape with respect to the requirements for the space, actor, audience, and theme. Secondly, I explain how I as the director prepare the foundation for the Heightened Theatrical Landscape, where I will place myself alongside director Peter Brook, and his theories on the director's role. In order for the actor to inhabit the Heightened Theatrical Landscape, I put forward David Rotenberg's acting system as my main director's tool for the process. After a short analysis of the actor's requirements towards inhabiting the Heightened Theatrical Landscape, I will discuss some of the main concepts of the system and give examples of its proposed application to my production of The Possibilities. My analysis will focus on why I believe this system is successful and how it shifts the role of the director into serving as a guide for the actor in placing himself in the Heightened Landscape. As my work is primarily with young actors, I will then articulate a need for methods of working with actors which address vocal and physical training in order to develop a form for the Heightened Theatrical Landscape. I firstly put forward a vocal method, as developed by Cicely Berry, to guide the actor towards the work on the text of this landscape. Consequently, I will introduce my understanding of Anne Bogart's Viewpoints as a complement to Rotenberg's system which addresses the actor's use of the body. I will clarify the principles that are shared between Viewpoints and Rotenberg's acting system before describing the application of Viewpoints within The Possibilities. Lastly, I reiterate my understanding of the combined theories of Rotenberg and Bogart, and how they form the main component of my directing toolbox which will become evident in my production of The Possibilities.
- ItemOpen AccessCreating resonance in emptiness with visual theatre : how the metaphorical potential of puppets, objects and images in theatre can be used to explore the constructed nature of reality and the complexity of the self(2007) Younge, Janni; Fleishman, MarkThe aim of this explication is to set my practical theatre research, and the production Dolos in particular, in a theoretical framework and performance historical context. Since the central theme of Dolos is the construction of reality and the consequent attachment to aspects of the self, my study draws on the ideas proposed by Phenomenology and Madhyamaka Buddhist philosophy.According to these two philosophical systems, the concept of reality is subjective and relative. This leads me to question the functioning of meaning-making in artistic practice. Metaphor is explored as a vehicle for the meaning-making process and for the creation of resonant experience in theatre and performance. The production style of Dolos is one that I have defined as Visual Theatre, a theatre of puppets, objects, visual and theatrical images. Visual Theatre is examined in the context of theatre as an artistic medium; it is then contextualised in terms of its 20th development through the Century; and definitions are offered of the major elements at play within Visual Theatre. A series of interviews conducted with five creator/ directors from four South African companies working in the general terrain of Visual Theatre is used to contextualise current practice in South Africa and to locate my own work. The interviews are used to establish trends of thought around the object/puppet and its relationship in theatre to constructed reality. The views of these practitioners on their own creative process as well as my observations about their practical work are used as examples throughout.
- ItemOpen AccessDeveloping comic text/s : representations and presentations of Jewish cultural identity through the integration of stand-up and domestic comedy(2005) Kowen, Jacqueline Therese; Weare, ChristopherThis written explication deals with the integration of the forms of stand-up comedy and domestic comedy in order to create a comic text. The comic text explores issues regarding the presentation and representation of Jewish cultural identity. The integration results in both the experienced and imagined truths of the playwright to become present on stage. These were points of enquiry in the writing, directing and performing of DRIVEN: A COMEDY IN 70 MINUTES, which opened at The Intimate Theatre, Orange Street, Cape Town on the 23 November 2004. The Introduction deals with defining key terms and forms to be used and discussed in the thesis, informing the reader of the writer's purpose in creating comic text by integrating stand-up and domestic comedy. In the first chapter the generating of comic text is explored. The generating of comic text is achieved by using the comic persona. The comic persona is developed using identity, outside voice. Once the comic persona is in place it is possible to: create an authentic stage persona for the stand-up comedian and to create a 'theatrical climate' consisting of plot, characters, themes and narrative storylines. In the second chapter the idea of pastiche (borrowed elements) is explored in terms of its impact structurally and stylistically in the writing, directing and performing of DRIVEN. Structurally this impact is evident via the use of 'pastiching' the structure of situation comedy (sitcom) and stylistically through the use of Yiddish and the influence of other comedians' performance styles on the comic persona. The third chapter delves into the way Jewish cultural identity is represented through stand-up comedy and Jewish cultural identity is presented through domestic comedy. The stand-up comedian, through persona, audience relationship and other devices associated with the form, becomes the representation of Jewish cultural identity. Characters, story and situation, through the use of both comic traits (elements associated with Jewish cultural identity) and stereotypes, become the presentation of Jewish cultural identity.
- ItemOpen AccessDevelopment, belonging and change : a study of a community theatre-for-development initiative in KwaZulu-Natal(2008) Stockil, Emily; Morris, GayThis dissertation seeks to address issues related to community change within the field of Theatre-for development. It proposes and then investigates various ways in which a community may seek to retain a sense of collective ideology in the light of both positive and negative developmental change, as promulgated by agents outside their community. Chapter one, Introduction, begins by introducing the reader both to the fieldwork project and the community, Khethani township, in which the masters degree filedwork was undertaken. It was this fieldwork which prompted the research enquiry covered by this dissertation, to which the reader is introduced. It delineates the research methodologies of both the fieldwork project and this dissertation, and positions the writer in relation to this study. The initial aim of the fieldwork project was to do a practical enquiry into the methods of workshop theatre and the development of a distinct theatre aesthetic that emerges from a community as a result of workshop theatre practices. Having completed the fieldwork project and having considered the results of the initial fieldwork aims a larger research enquiry developed as to the role of workshop theatre within the broader context of community development and this has now become the focus of this dessertation.
- ItemOpen AccessDevising dialogue : structuring intercultural encounters through the process of workshop theatre(2008) Leffler, Elliot; Morris, GayThis dissertation explores the efficacy of workshop theatre processes in nurturing intercultural dialogue among members of a multicultural group. It investigates two kinds of intercultural dialogue - interpersonal dialogue and intergroup dialogue - which, it is argued, are each catalysed by different theatrical processes. Theatre games and improvisations seem to nurture an interpersonal dialogue, in which cultural differences are transcended as group members recognise each other's common humanity. Theatre research, on the other hand, seems more able to nurture an intergroup dialogue, in which group members acknowledge and contextualise cultural differences. At the same time, this dissertation proposes that it is unethical and ultimately ineffective for a facilitator to deliberately nurture a purely-interpersonal dialogue or a purely-intergroup dialogue. Rather, the group members themselves should determine the nature of the dialogue in which they participate. The dissertation therefore embraces Fred Casmir' s model of third-culture building, which conceptualises the multicultural group as a 'third-culture' that ideally evolves to accomodate the needs of all of its members.
- ItemOpen AccessEmbracing space : reviewing the body-space nexus as a creative tool, inspired by the theories of Rudolph Laban and the Bauhaus movement(2006) Levin, Ruth; Morris, GayMy MA in theatre and performance investigates the relationship between the body and space, with a view to using it to generate content and choreography for dance theatre productions. I draw my research from the theories of Rudolph Laban and the Bauhaus movement. Laban's view of space as a living entity governs my investigation. From his theories regarding space and its impact on the movement that the body produces, I have discovered the categories within space, which are useful to combine, in order that they can stimulate content and choreography. The theories of the Bauhaus movement influence my approach to the composition phase of productions.
- ItemOpen AccessAn exploration of the relationship between applied theatre and community building practice, with specific reference to a teenage pregnancy project in Delft(2006) Sulcas, Gabrielle Reeve; Morris, GayIn a developing country such as South Africa, the challenge to locate new, effective methods of social development is key. This study argues that applied theatre has the potential to become a powerful medium for the fulfilment of this aim. The development and performance of this kind of theatre, which occurs outside of conventional theatre settings and deals with social issues in a participatory way with its audience, brings people of different genders, ages, races and classes together. In doing so, a community is formed, dynamic and multidimensional in nature. This is a divergence from conventional understandings of community as a single static, objective entity. Community building practice centres around this reconceptualisation of community, providing an orientation to the ways in which people who identify as members of a shared community engage together in the process of community change.
- ItemOpen AccessAn exploration towards a theatre praxis : the director as facilitator, looking through the lens of constructivism and multiple intelligences(2010) Bruce, Catharina; Hyland, GeoffreyAs South African theatre artists we are both challenged and enriched by a diversity ofcultures, languages and traditions amongst both our practitioners and audiences. We are at the same time presented with a social environment that contains entrenched inequalities and divisions, profound trauma and unclear expectations. This affects us not only in the kind of theatre we create in response, but also in how we create theatre. Our rehearsal spaces and stages, like South African educational institutions, are concerned as much with integration and building communication bridges as with production.What I hope to glimpse at least, through this exploration, is a basis for practice that enhances the ability of an ensemble, no matter the degree of diversity, to actively participate in the process of interrogating the essence of a text or theme. I maintain that this collective process will develop open and authentic communication within the group,and that it will vitalize and enhance the impact of the resulting production by allowing the individual participants to make the concept, and its expression, their own.
- ItemOpen AccessExploring meaning in Xhalanga Blues: a theatre of ntsomi palimpsests encouraging sustainable storytelling(2021) Plaatjie, Nwabisa; Tshazibane, Mfundo; Crewe, Jenni-leeThis research explores the notion of the ntsomi; the oral storytelling custom of amaXhosa, by identifying ten elements listed by various writers as unique to African oral storytelling and weaving these elements into poetics which assist us in tracing how they are used to stage and facilitate conversations around sustainability in the production Xhalanga Blues. The unique African oral storytelling poetics include; contextually, sensitive storytelling; etiological formula usage; deviation or ring composition; an opening formula; orature in the form of narrative proverbs; personal metaphors; riddles and songs; analogous explanations; personification; image-repertoire; extensive use of long speeches or monologues and survival construct. The research further explores the challenges of using these poetics as I try to make sense of my experiences, the visibility of black theatre-makers and self-representation. The research essay is presented as an autoethnographic narrative that hopes to archive my experience, develop a shared understanding of the challenges facing emerging theatre-makers, clarify my values as a theatre maker and centre storytelling as a systemised approach for imagining a dramaturgy of sustainability.
- ItemOpen AccessExploring the field of autotopography through live art practice : The frieze, The anatomy lecture theatre and The security hut(2014) Postlethwaite, Rosa; Pather, JayThis paper presents: The Frieze, The Anatomy Lecture Theatre and The Security Hut as outcomes of my practice-based research project into strategies of making autotopographical performance. Departing from Gonzalez’s theory of autotopography (1995), which focuses on objects belonging to individuals that are seen to signify their identity, and drawing on Heddon’s (2002; 2008), Bal’s (2002) and Arlander’s (2012) subsequent discussions around the term, I unpack the process of making live art performances in response to a site. During the process of making I examined the relationships between the material landscape, my processes of memory and my sense-of-self.
- ItemOpen AccessExploring the tension between Coleridge's Poetic Faith and disbelief in the metatheatrical strategies used in a Mask, a Key and a Pair of Broken Wings(2007) Keevy, Jon; Pather, JayThis explication is focused on the metatheatrical strategies employed in my thesis production: a Mask, a Key and a Pair of Broken Wings, a triptych of three short plays. The paper pursues a deeper understanding of the nature of an audience's engagement with onstage narratives. The production explores existential dilemmas through stories about runaways and escapees. Jean Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness (first published 1943) can be construed as a map of the territories that the stories explore. I also employ a Sartrean style of argument in the unpacking ofthe strategies applied in the production's staging. A cornerstone of both the narrative and academic inquiry is Sartre's notion of 'bad faith' and the construction of self through it. In order to fully explore the constructedness of self, the production is done in a metatheatrical form. Metatheatre was coined by Lionel Abel to describe plays that consciously drew attention to their own construction. It is an appropriate form to expose the layers of relationships between the real and the performed. In order to better understand the nature of audience engagement the paper considers two relatively unused sources of dramatic theory, Coleridge and Tolkien. Coleridge's writings in Bibliographia Literaria (first published 1817) on disbelief and poetic faith are used to discuss the receptivity of an audience, while Tolkien's concept of the division between the primary and secondary worlds allows the discussion of what the audience perceives. The key distinction between disbelief and poetic faith is the distinction between intellectual objection and emotional ascent to a secondary world. By discussing the tactics of Metatheatre to be used in a Mask. a Key and a Pair of Broken Wings, the benefits and pitfalls of each strategy is revealed. My argument describes the possible effects of these on an audience's consciousness as the results of variations in the relative strengths of their intellectual and emotional perceptions. Metatheatre is a rupture of the secondary world, the object of the audience's poetic faith. Metatheatre can be a powerful tool in the theatremaker's arsenal only by understanding how poetic faith and disbelief function in tension and in harmony with one another.
- ItemOpen AccessFemale vocality in theatre : sounding, hearing, and structures of feeling re-framed(2009) Singer, Jacqueline; Mills, LizThis study proceeds from the belief that the female voice is silent or is seemingly absent in theatre and explores the possibility of the presence of a female vocality. The term 'female vocality' is used to refer to multiple aspects of the voice(s) of women in theatre; as performers, as playwrights and as theatre makers. It refers to both the sound of the voice and the structural elements of performance and text. The term is also intentionally used to uncover the uniqueness of the female voice and of that which is specific to women and arguably less defined by logocentric or patriarchal structures. A further distinction is made with the use of the term, in a more symbolic and generic sense, to denote the public and political voice of women. It is not only the sound of the voice that is examined but also how that sound is received or heard. The voices of women have not necessarily been absent or silent but 'seemingly absent' because the receiver was not actively present, or possibly, the listener chose not to hear. Part One: By searching the silences for the sound of the female voice, it is not only the voice that is uncovered, but features of identity and subjectivity. It traces the path of a trajectory of feminist critical theory in the late twentieth century that impacted profoundly on theatre practice and this notion of silence or absence of the female voice. In theI980's, Sue-Ellen Case (1988) suggested that feminist critics adopt the term a 'new poetics' to describe their attempts to embrace new forms of language and dramatic structure in feminist theatre. This new form defines the re-positioning of woman as subject and calls for a re-construction of language and text to reflect the female voice more accurately. It also explores the work of performance artists and the influence of the writing of post-structuralist Helene Cixous in their attempts to foreground themselves as subject and the body as text. Part Two: By appropriating Raymond Williams' term 'structures of feeling' I posit a re-framing of a feminine theatrical aesthetic that expresses the lived experience of women. I am drawn to the use of the term because of its implicit understanding of the qualities of particular types of experience that are intangible or 'unspeakable' which is similar to the elusive qualities inherent in the description of female vocality. To articulate these qualities more lucidly I refer to Kristeva's 'semiotic' and Barthes 'grain of the voice.' Part Three: I examine how the voice is at times not heard and how this aspect of selective hearing can be developed by the listener or audience. Related to this is how in the development of western thought and philosophy the voice has been separated from the speaker and relegated to insignificance. Italian feminist philosopher Adriana Cavarero terms this 'the de-vocalization of logos' (2005: 33) which is useful in understanding how women's voices have seemingly been ignored. I review my own practice and the challenges it presented in uncovering alternative theatrical means to foreground female vocality. I search for possible ways of re -considering the use of language and in this regard, I refer to playwrights Caryl Churchill and Sarah Kane and their respective innovative use of dramatic and dialogic structure which deconstructed the more traditional (patriarchal) forms. Aspects of the post-dramatic theatre are considered in an endeavour to propose structural and dramaturgical devices that may create new vocal landscapes which would enhance the potential of the multi-faceted aspects of female vocality in an attempt to define a 'new poetics' for the twenty-first century. By mapping the possibilities inherent in female vocality for theatre the findings reveal that there are rich resources available. These concepts and examples can be used and crafted towards creating a dynamic feminine theatrical aesthetic where the voices of women can be experienced and heard.
- ItemOpen AccessFragments of Encounters(University of Cape Town, 2020) Blum, Nomi; Crewe, Jenni-Lee; Jackï JobFRAGMENTS OF ENCOUNTERS is an experimental interactive performance project operating within a 'practice as research' (PaR) paradigm-defined as a continually emergent and open-ended process. The participation and interaction of the audience and the feedback received from lecturers and fellow students were central to the development of this research and are integrated in my work. Description of this feedback and its impact will be visible throughout this paper. I will be engaging with my research through the lens of two performances, fragments of encounters 1 & 2, which act as embodiments to my research. The work(s) is a narrative about lives relieved through memory and whose re-narration gives rise to a new present time-that of the narrative, which is the performance. The subject of my research is fragment(ation) seen through the prism of memory, however, not as a main subject but close to Henri Bergson's shining points, round which other subjects 'form a vague nebulosity' (2002:171). The making of this project began in the street; from my interaction with people of different ages and from different socio-political and cultural realities. These encounters make up a personal audio archive of oral interviews recorded, which serves as the source material for my project. The recorded material are life-fragments-memories of the people interviewed and fragments of my own. Overlapping with Herman Parret's (1988) vision, for whom 'life' is a narrative and the narration time is an 'invented' time, the archive I present in my practice is a 'construct', and the re-fragmentation of the fragments of memories in the work opens a field of possibilities of interpretation. Some of these possible reinterpretations are actualised at each re-narration. This in turn opens new interpretations, possibilities or actualisations. By fragmentation and re-narration a mosaic of fragments-memories originate, which are in effect re-narratives... ad infinitum. In the same time, the possibilities that remained unactualised, not narrated, but which are virtual real, amplify the state of tension and uncertainty provoked by fragmentation, which in the end can lead to chaos.
- ItemOpen AccessFrom designer through space to spectator : tracking an imaginative exchage between the actants of a scenographic event(2013) Louw, IllkaThe aim of this enquiry is to deepen the understanding of the author's practice as theatre designer, scenographer and visual dramaturge in a postdramatic milieu. This study creates a theoretical frame for a research-led performance that is especially dependent on the release of 'active energies of imagination' (Lehmann, 2006:16). The performance will take the form of a scenographic event,which does not depend on 'the principles of narration and figuration' (Lehmann, 2006:18). Instead it relies on a 'visual dramaturgy ' in which just as in front of a painting, activates the dynamic capacity of the gaze to produce processes, combinations and rhythms on the basis of the data provided by the stage' (Lehmann, 2006:157). The study proposes that the release of 'active energies of imagination' (2006:16) extends beyond the space of the live event, tracking its origin to the interaction between the designer and the materials of her art.