Monday, 24 April 2017

More on Schechner and Performance Studies

There is plenty to dislike in Schechner's introduction to
Performance Studies (second edition, 2006): the way he presents himself as 'a Jewish Hindu Buddhist atheist', carefully avoiding mention of his whiteness, his American citizenship and his maleness; his refusal of citations and, by implication, the authority of academic writing; his suggestion that 'performance studies is so broad-ranging' that it doesn't really need a limiting definition. The switch into third person when he offers his biography, and the division of performance into the dualism of 'Western' and 'non-western' when the latter could be subdivided into African, Asian, et cetera et cetera... 

However, his definition of performance is adorable.

Performances are actions... performance studies scholars... their dedicated focus is on the "repertory", namely, what people do in their activity of doing it. Second, artistic practice is a big part of the performance studies project... the challenge is is to become as aware as possible of one's own stances in relation to the positions of others.

(page 1- 2)

It's here that performance studies shows its debt to dramaturgy, and the dramaturgy designed by Diderot and the Enlightenment. Both labels include the study of performance as phenomenology, as events and not documents or literary texts. 

No comments :

Post a Comment