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Pinchbeck, M., 2007.

Ways of Staging: A Fortunate Man and A Seventh Man

Output Type:Other form of assessable output

This Practice-as-Research enquiry explores the form and content of Berger and Mohr's books. Research aims:

- Use performance to examine aesthetic qualities of two books
- Propose new expanded dramaturgies / scenographies for adaptation

Using archive footage, contemporary reportage and verbatim text, A Fortunate Man (2018) and A Seventh Man (2020) transpose Berger's text and Mohr's images into performance to find 'ways of staging' the books. Challenging Berger's assertion that 'To understand a landscape, we have to situate ourselves in it' (1972), the research process involved interviewing doctors, migrant workers and academics about the influence of the books and how they continue to resonate today. The practice engaged in 'staging landscapes' in a geographical, medical, sociological and historical sense.

Framed as a medical lecture, A Fortunate Man explores the NHS through the lens of the 1967 book about a country doctor. A Seventh Man places the audience inside an immersive experience of migrant workers, inspired by the 1975 book about migration. The performance takes place inside a shed for a limited audience and explores Alston's notion of an 'experience machine' (Alston 2016). The enquiry questions the relationship between reader and text, audience and performance.

Scenography and dramaturgy replicate turning the pages of the book, where image and text are in dialogue. The research enquiry finds ways to adapt the books aesthetically and textually. Two articles explore the expanded dramaturgy and scenography of the performances and the notion of 'radical hospitality' (Sperling 2018). The research investigates the inherent dialogue between image and text that Berger and Mohr explored.

A Fortunate Man was shown at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Singapore International Fringe. It received four-star reviews in The Stage, The Scotsman, The Independent, The List, Time Out and What's On Stage. A Seventh Man takes place in a mobile research centre - S.H.E.D.