Character under Erasure: A Practical Exploration of the Application of Realist Strategies for Character-creation in Postdramatic Paradigms
Dr. Gareth White
MA Text and Performance Studies, King’s College University of London and RADA
BA (Hons) English Language and Literature, University of Leeds
My thesis explores how realist strategies for creating character can be applied to postdramatic paradigms for performance-making. This practice-led research investigates the relationship between ‘truthful’ characterisation in dramatic realism and a preference for the ‘real’ in late twentieth/early twenty-first century performance-making. By focusing on the director’s work in guiding an actor/performer’s practice within these paradigms, the research proposes a reconfiguration of the relationship between the two aesthetics. The thesis argues for a re-evaluation of the historical lineage, considering whether dramatic realism has developed into, rather than simply been rejected in favour of, the ‘real’ in performance.Drawing on a Stanislavskian approach to creating a role, within a postdramatic paradigm for performance-making, the research poses the question: how can realist strategies for creating characterisation serve the actor/performer in the development of work that is neither tied to the dramatic text, nor fully allied to a realist aesthetic?
Since completing my MA in Text and Performance Studies in 2002 I taught Drama and Theatre Studies at secondary level and in adult education. My teaching practice led to the development of my research project, which focuses on actor training and rehearsal and performance strategies for the actor and the role of the director in devising processes. I am particularly interested in adaptation in devising and the relationship between contemporary performance practices and the critical contexts of postmodernism and postdramatic theatre. I am a recipient of an AHRC studentship and am currently completing the final year of my practice-based doctoral research. I am a Visiting Lecturer at RCSSD on the MA Music Theatre.
March 2016 Director, The Seagull, Or Why Masha Always Wears Black, Camden People’s Theatre
September 2015 Director, Three Sisters, Collisions Festival, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD)
October 2014 Director, The Seagull, Or Why Masha Always Wears Black, Collisions Festival, RCSSD
October 2013 Director, Counting Her Dresses, Collisions Festival, RCSSD
October 2012 Director, Are You Really Feeling It? Collisions Festival, RCSSD
October 2011 Director, The Letter, Collisions Festival, RCSSD
2014 ‘In Praise of Acting’, Intersections, RCSSD
2014 ‘Are You Really Feeling It’, Not A Dry Eye In The House: Tears In Performance, Paris-Sorbonne Université
2013 ‘I Agonises Me’, Intersections, RCSSD