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UAL Research Online

Embodied Presence and Dislocated Spaces: Playing the Audience in Ten Thousand Several Doors in a Promenade, Site-specific Performance of John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi

Collins, Jane (2012) Embodied Presence and Dislocated Spaces: Playing the Audience in Ten Thousand Several Doors in a Promenade, Site-specific Performance of John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. In: Performing Site-Specific Theatre: Politics, Place, Practice. Palgrave Performance Interventions . Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, U.K., pp. 54-68. ISBN 9780230364066

Type of Research: Book Section
Creators: Collins, Jane

This chapter develops a conference paper presented to the Scenography Working Group at the International Federation of Theatre Research Annual Conference, ‘Cultures of Modernity’ in Munich in July 2010, the paper is now published in an edited collection which seeks to interrogate current trends, practices, and implications of performance in which site/location/landscape is central. The publication in which the paper appears covers analyses of ‘site’ at its most local, specific, and actual. It addresses site-specificity in the realm of the global and globalisation, and situates site-specificity beyond the ‘purely’ spatial in order to examine what new/different discourses appear to emerge.

Within the frame-work of expanding notions of site-specific performance this chapter uses Ten Thousand Several Doors, a production I directed in 2006 and re-staged in 2009, as case study to investigate the potential of site based work to produce new readings of classic texts. Contemporary theories of performance and spectorship are used to analyse the production and reception of the work. I argue that the spatial properties of the site and the embodied presence of the audience as an element of the scenography, afforded the actors opportunites for ‘play’ that embroiled the audience in the moral ambiguities of Webster’s text, in ways that more coventional staging would not have permitted.

Publisher's description of the volume in which this chapter appears:
Performing Site-Specific Theatre turns a critical eye to the increasingly popular form of site-specific performance. By re-assessing this contemporary practice, the book investigates the nature of the relationship between 'site' and 'performance.' Site-specific performance operates differently from performance that takes place within a theatre venue because it seeks to match form and content (and place and space) more finely than does theatre that takes place inside conventional venues. Yet the form also encourages an investigation of how we might understand 'site' as less fixed or less specifically geographical; it broadens the types of relevant 'spaces' we might consider. The form also enables us to address a range of performative issues, from the development of site-specific 'soundscapes' to the role of the spectator in site-specific performance. The contributions in the book from leading theorists and practitioners demonstrate how site-specific performance extends theatre's potential engagement with its geographical and political communities, and cover an exceptional range of innovative performance practices. Students, scholars and practitioners of contemporary theatre and performance, space and place, and site-specific performance will find much to value in this timely interrogation of current trends, practices and implications of performance in which site/landscape is central.

Official Website: http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=547329
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Reviewed: 'This excellent anthology provides a wide-ranging collection of essays on critical issues of place-based theatre. It includes articles that treat historical and contemporary themes from the perspectives of both theorists and practitioners in a variety of institutional contexts. As the best anthologies do, it both bolsters and challenges the discipline.' - Professor Laurie Beth Clark, University of Wisconsin Madison, USA

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Performance, scenography, site specific, Duchess of Malfi, John Webster, Jacobean tragedy
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Palgrave Macmillan
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Wimbledon College of Arts
Date: 26 October 2012
Related Websites: http://issuu.com/niessnerdesign/docs/iftr_bookofabstracts/search
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Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2012 14:59
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2014 12:28
Item ID: 5078
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/5078

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