Monday, 27 February 2017

The Problem of Dramaturgy Now

...the problem of the Diderot-Lessing dramaturgy is not its lack of a system but its insistence on reason. This is not the only way in which a performance might be created, nor is it the only energy that might drive a play...

Both Heads Up and Blow Up are cases in point. Without denying the reasonableness of either play's structure, they present the artist as captured in passion. Hurley's description of characters facing an apocalypse and Taudevin's tale of anti-patriarchal activism are immersed in the emotional lives of their protagonists and the delivery, surrounded by and driven by music, offers an emotive rather than cerebral thrill. When one of Hurley's characters reflects on their own art (popular music), they draw the comparison with the act of sampling, of weaving together not a structured argument but a web of references and quotations, aiming not at the lineal but at a tapestry. Like the web of Indra, the points reflect each other in a hologrammatic description of the whole. The measured and moderate thrust of reason is replaced by an immersion in emotions.

...the category of 'dramaturgy' (a body of theory about the making process) is often confused with 'dramaturgies' (the specific strategies of making)... neither have any ascendancy over the other, but one moves towards a system, the other is concerned with individual theatre-events...

Disorientation, a structure that spirals, the juxtaposition of chaos and order: these things militate against the precise measurements of the Diderot-Lessing tradition. It's a tradition that has disappeared before, almost still-born as it was swept away by the Revolution and Romanticism as its era suddenly aborted.  

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