How different statuses accorded to varying types of documentation play more less productive roles in play development and performance

McSweeney, Alex (2015) How different statuses accorded to varying types of documentation play more less productive roles in play development and performance. In: TaPRA Conference 2015; 08 - 10 Sep 2015, Worcester, U.K.. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The major aim of this paper is to determine how the different statuses accorded to varying types of documentation play more or less productive roles in play development and performance. In order to address and identify important differences in how the statuses of modes of documentation operate, the paper investigates a practice-based research project conducted by myself, as writer and director of a "new" play performed at the Park Theatre, London, in 2015 – Out of the Cage. The production, developed through several incarnations, was variously funded by successful applications to both Arts Council England and the Esme Fairbarn Foundation, and had been presented previously in different versions at the International Youth Arts Festival (Kingston). Consequently, the duration of Out of the Cage's developmental process provides opportunities and focus points through which to interrogate how both "integral" and "external" documentation of practice become operational within our creative process through the different statuses they are accorded. In terms of its content, the play sought to dramatise the lives of Britain's female munition workers of the First World War. In the event, documenting the creative process and live performance of the work across its different phases facilitated a questioning of what in the first instance actually constitutes documentation, as well as an interrogation of how modes of documentation are valued. Taking “integral” documentation to be the diverse trace elements that the practice process creates (research notes, script drafts, rehearsal notes and call sheets, design model, lighting plan, choreographic notation, sound design), and “external” documentation to be the attempt to capture performance itself (through video, audio, photographic or text-based recording), this paper argues that certain forms of documentation present themselves with greater validity, by appearing to contribute knowledge and insight within the creative process, while others appear problematic by appearing to ‘stand in’ for an event perpetually elsewhere. This paper, therefore, tests the perceptions of different documentation practices used in respective stages of Out of the Cage, contributing to an understanding of the status of documentation as a factor in performance production.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Event Title: TaPRA Conference 2015
Organising Body: Theatre and Performance Research Association
Research Area: Drama, dance and performing arts
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017) > School of Performance and Screen Studies
Depositing User: Katrina Clifford
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2017 14:49
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2017 14:49
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/36568

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