Emotion memory in postdramatic performance : Quarantine Theatre’s Wallflower.

Crossley, TL ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4602-1232 Emotion memory in postdramatic performance : Quarantine Theatre’s Wallflower. , in: The S Word: Stanislavsky and the Future of Acting, 18th - 20th March 2016, Rose Bruford College, Sidcup, Kent. (Unpublished)

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This paper provokes a dialogue between dramatic and postdramatic theatre by applying the concept of emotion memory to Quarantine Theatre’s Wallflower (2015). Stanislavski’s methodology and postdramatic approaches to performance are generally considered as divergent, if not oppositional. Whilst Stanislavskian methodology focuses on the actor’s embodiment of character within a dramatic fiction, postdramatic theatre is situated beyond character, in preference for task-based performance or the adoption of persona. As Michael Kirby argued, what distinguishes acting from task-based ‘not-acting’ is that the former involves an emotional or psychic component whilst the latter does not (Kirby, 1987). Another presumed difference is that the postdramatic does not rely on technique or training. Indeed a common feature of postdramatic theatre that has been identified is a “poetics of failure” in which a deliberate, ameteuristic style is used to “derail stage conventions [and] the ambitions of dramatic integrity” (Bailes, 2011:56). Nonetheless there are commonalities across both approaches. In both, performers are often encouraged to mine elements of their own life as part of the rehearsal process, albeit to different ends. Whilst the dramatic actor does so to find correspondences between their own experience and the character they are portraying, the postdramatic performer does so to develop ‘textual’ material and/or persona. This suggests that dramatic and postdramatic theatres are not always oppositional and can operate in dialogue. I argue that Quarantine theatre’s Wallflower represents an example, which blends the ‘ameteurish’ style associated with the postdramatic with more embodied, emotional performance states. Here three performers recollect and perform dances that connect to both trivial and significant events from their lives. With reference to this piece, I will draw on Bella Merlin’s reconceptualization of Stanislavsky’s emotion memory to examine how this kind of analysis can expand the theorization of the postdramatic whilst also considering how Stanislavskian-based methodology can be incorporated in the making of such work.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: TL Crossley
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2016 14:43
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 20:26
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/38547

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