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Devising ridiculusmus’ total football: A schematic reading of performance process.

Talbot, RJ 2014, 'Devising ridiculusmus’ total football: A schematic reading of performance process.' , Studies in Theatre and Performance, 34 (2) , pp. 140-159.

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This article critically reflects on a series of drawings created during the devising process for Ridiculumus’ Total Football (2012). Ridiculusmus' production, a narrative of a non-sporty bureaucrat tasked with harnessing the enthusiasm of football fans in the interests of national cohesion, examines the impossibility of thorough incorporation of a national body within the Olympic mo(ve)ment. Based on an existing convention among football commentators for contextualizing and narrating team play, a series of photographs of sketches-in-process discussed here capture the marks of live notation as an urgent activity during devising. As such the reader has access to a snapshot from Ridiculusmus’ rehearsal methods and process. The paper analyses the notation devices employed in the sketches arguing that the approximate qualities of sketched notation, and its failed totality, capture the tone of comedy in this work about masculine hubris. While the sketches attempt to keep pace with the spontaneity of tactics devised by performers, the paper argues that performance systems and dance notation that have paid attention to architecture and spatial arrangement as a score do not generally notate intention or strategy. The paper presents the idea that the sketches document a multiplicity of tactics, and footballing metaphor in process. The notation can be understood both as documentation of movement and a contribution to a theatrical and scenographic discourse that is concerned with more than a simple ‘blocking.’ The paper discusses the origins of ‘self-blocking’ in this production, its relation to a priori analysis of character and to unpredictable elements of game-playing in a piece about football. The paper discusses the way in which Ridiculumus tackle the inherent rigidity of the British class system through a metaphorical critique of the ‘4 4 2’ team formation in football. With its wasteful habit of long ball passes, the formation has proven vulnerable against continental versatility, just as a bureaucratic class that resists meritocracy will not withstand more imaginative social structures elsewhere in the world. Finally, the article, which includes original photographs and diagrams, suggests that similar crude schema indicate a potential for digital software to expand on the score/ing function of dance notation and may be appropriate for devising in contemporary theatre.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Comedy; Devising; Documentation; Football; Performance; Physical Theatre; Olympics; Ridiculusmus.
Themes: Media, Digital Technology and the Creative Economy
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Studies in Theatre and Performance
Publisher: Intellect
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1468-2761
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: RJ Talbot
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2013 11:51
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2015 23:35
References: Alfreds, M (2007) Different Every Night: Freeing the Actor. London: Nick Hern Books. Barker, C (2010) Theatre Games: a new handbook for drama training. London: Methuen Drama. Bogart, A & Landau, T (2006) The Viewpoints Book: A Practical Guide to Viewpoints and Composition. New York: Theatre Communications Group Inc. Lecoq, J (2009) The Moving Body (Le Corps Poetique): Teaching Creative Theatre London: Methuen Woods, D. & Haynes, J. (2012) Total Football. (London: Oberon Books) Woods, D. & Haynes, J. Total Football. (Unpublished rehearsal scripts, 21 Nov 2010 & May 2013) Winner, D (2001) Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Fraser, S. From the Argentina red card to Goldenballs! The quotes which sum up the career of England legend Beckham Daily Mail Online 16 May 2013 [Accessed 20 Aug 2013] Hitchens, H. Evening Standard, 20th May 2011. [Accessed 3 Aug 2013] Hemming, S. Financial Times Review 20 May 2011. [Accessed 3 Aug 2013] Lepecki, A. ‘Exhausting Dance: Themes for a Politics of Movement in Live’ 121-127 In Heathfield, A (2005) Live: Art & Performance London: Tate; see also (2005) Exhausting Dance: Performance and the Politics of Movement. London: Routledge. Ridiculusmus. Company Website. [Accessed 21 Aug 2013] The Field of Play. The Football Association. 2012. [Accessed 21 Aug 2013] TVG Media Ltd. Football Manager Software. [Accessed 21 Aug 2013] Williams, R. ‘Pitch Invasion’ in The Guardian, 22 Sep 2006.

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