Pinchbeck, M., 2020.
The Trilogy: Acts of Dramaturgy
This publication is a critical frame for a body of devised work that has toured extensively nationally and internationally ? The Trilogy (2014). The three performances, The Beginning (2012), The Middle (2013) and The End (2011) set out to explore the role of the dramaturg. The title, Acts of Dramaturgy, is taken from The Process of Dramaturgy: A Handbook (Chemers, Irelan, Fletcher, 2010: ix), which, as the authors describe in its foreword, is aimed at those who commit ?acts of dramaturgy?. This publication seeks to frame the playtexts for The Trilogy (2014) alongside a series of reflexive essays and provocations on contemporary dramaturgy. The essays will contextualise the themes and approaches of the work, serve as provocations for the Acts of Dramaturgy the work entailed, challenge new models of Practice as Research (PaR) and problematise the very notion of playtexts themselves. It is intended as a critical companion to a body of work that toured for six years (and continues to do so) and which stimulates a debate about dramaturgy - what Claire MacDonald describes as a ?term in flux, a not-yet-settled word? (MacDonald, 2010: 94). To frame my investigations into the role of the dramaturg in contemporary performance, I created three performances inspired by the work of William Shakespeare. Taking as their starting point a stage direction or a moment in the narrative that is not the main focus, The Trilogy (2014) recontextualises, deconstructs and disorientates the classic text within a landscape that is more polarised, free from the text and inherently and explicitly aware of its own theatricality. The work negotiates the ever-shifting relationship between the text and its performance, the performer(s) and their audience, whilst acknowledging that Shakespeare often employed a play-within-a-play as a device, what we now call a meta-theatrical mode of representation. Through an understanding of the role, the dramaturg, outside of a traditional writer-director paradigm, becomes a lens or application with which to deconstruct and decode the tropes and contradictions of contemporary performance such as the script as an onstage device, non-matrixed performance, autobiographical material and non-linear narrative. Dramaturgs and ?outside eyes? operate in a fluid territory between writer, director and dramatist and the publication reflects this fluidity both in its approach and critical investigation. It is important to note that The Trilogy (2014) was non-linear in its devising and, as such, became inherently intertextual. As a maker, it was my intention to weave work as a dramaturg always at different proximities to its creation and as my presence as a performer became less my presence as dramaturg could potentially increase. It is this weave that informed the dramaturgical process for the body of work, allowing me to cut across linearities of time and space, and will inform the structure of the publication With this in mind I will use the terminology of weaving as chapter headings to narrate the content and guide the reader through the devising process e.g. Shedding, Picking, Raveling, Battening, Taking Up etc. I apply each of these terms to a stage in the theatre-making process to create a narrative of the dramaturgy and the way in which the performances were composed. This metaphor, stemming from Barba?s definition of text as ?a weaving together? and Barthes? notion of intertextuality, allows for an in-depth analysis of the practice. This volume contains performance texts from The Beginning (2011), The Middle (2013) and The End (2010). It features critical contributions from other scholar and artists including: Maddy Costa, Nicki Hobday, Catherine Love, James Hudson, Michael Mangan, Ollie Smith, Rhiannon Jones, Dani Abulhawa and Andy Smith. This deposit at the moment features two chapters I have contributed to the volume entitled: On weaving: Acts of (auto)dramaturgy and On Intervals: In the middle of being a father and being a son (co-authored with my father, Tony Pinchbeck). A full pdf of the manuscript will follow.