Performing biography: creating, embodying and shifting history [2 parts]

Meenach, Bernadette Anne (2018) Performing biography: creating, embodying and shifting history [2 parts]. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Abstract

Performing Biography: creating, embodying and shifting history is a practice-led research project that builds upon and challenges Canton’s (2011) research into biographical theatre. Canton suggests that biographical theatre cannot shift audience perception of an historical figure if it counters their previous 'life world knowledge', regardless of the modernist or postmodernist theatrical devices employed. Through three cycles of observation, reflection, planning and, action two original biographical theatre works are created, embodied and performed. They are designed to test whether biographical theatre can shift audience perception of an historical figure if three emergent biographical theatre-making principles are considered. The modernist Ms. Garland at Twilight and the postmodernist Judy Strikes Back prove that biographical theatre could shift audience perception.

In extant biographical theatre works featuring the actress Judy Garland, her life is constructed through the tragedy plotting pattern. According to White (1978), Davis (1992), Heddon (2008) and Dortins (2009) such a pattern, or dominant narrative, has the power to limit, distort or police control over the life story of an historical figure. By successfully disrupting the tragedy narrative associated with Garland, this study proposes that ‘khorobiognosis’ can occur. That is, audience perception can be shifted if the biographer and biographical performers commit to their super-objective, include other people’s thinking, and embrace liveness.

This study provides a narrative of my biographical theatre-making practice to ensure that new narratives of historical figures can be revealed and forgotten narratives can be uncovered.


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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication (1 Jul 2013 - 28 Feb 2019)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication (1 Jul 2013 - 28 Feb 2019)
Supervisors: Scollen, Rebecca; Johnson, Laurie
Date Deposited: 22 May 2019 05:42
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2020 04:27
Uncontrolled Keywords: biography, biographical theatre, performance, theatre-making, practice-led research, grounded theory, embodiment, disruption, shifting, perception, tragedy, accomplishment, narrative, self, modernism, postmodernism, liveness, Stanislavski, meta-biographical devices, fluid, ‘khorobiognosis’, Judy Garland
Fields of Research (2008): 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190404 Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210304 Biography
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.26192/5f697a3cdccd7
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/36488

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