Sunday, 18 June 2017

What is my research about?

My research examines the dramaturgy of theatre and applies it to the study of comic books.

This has three phases: exploring the ideas of dramaturgy developed during the eighteenth century - primarily in the writings of Diderot and Lessing - to discover whether there is a systematic process behind their scattered meditations on performance.

Then, this system is applied as a interpretative tool to the comic book, paying particular attention to the superhero genre that has dominated anglophone comic books since the 1950s.

A further, suggestive, investigation is then made into whether the comic book format can be used as critical tool for the analysis of theatrical dramaturgy.

The question remains - why bother? For phase one, my study was inspired by my work as a theatre critic: I find a great deal of performance unsatisfactory, feeling that something is missing from the production. Tracing theatre studies back to its origins in Aristotle, dramaturgy appeared as an under-represented and ill-defined notion. Yet Diderot and Lessing do provide a clear set of parameters for the application of dramaturgy as a critical tool and the awareness it offers - especially in terms of the relationships between creativity, chronotopes of space-time, social context and performance - are a practical foundation for both theatre production and analysis.

I am an advocate of a heightened awareness of dramaturgy, and its history, towards a more engaged and rigorous contemporary theatre.

Bringing comic books into the study was a natural addition: comic books have become an increasing academic concern in recent years - perhaps inspired by the energy of Francophone and Belgian scholarship, but lack a cohesive discipline that draws together the interests of narratology, sociology and aesthetics. Theatre studies, with its parallel concerns, provides a potential systematic methodology. 

As a fertile strand within theatre studies, dramaturgy becomes the method to test this hypothesis.

Phase three? That's all about impact. I can hand people copies of my theories in prose, but it doesn't get the same smile...

No comments :

Post a Comment