Stages on pages: reading theatre-fiction in lockdown

Wolfe, Graham (2021) Stages on pages: reading theatre-fiction in lockdown. In: Arrhythmia Performance Pedagogy and Practice, 4:20pm – 4:40pm - 4th June 2021, Online.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Title: Stages on pages: reading theatre-fiction in lockdown

Amidst COVID-19 lockdowns and circuit-breakers, with theatres closed throughout the world, many have retained contact with theatrical performance by turning to unconventional sources. Among these, digital sources have received the most popular and critical attention in recent months, but my presentation investigates another kind of intermedial genre, what I refer to as theatre-fiction: novels and short- stories that engage in substantial and sustained ways with theatre. Theatre has made star appearances in hundreds of literary fictions, including many by modern history’s most influential authors, from J. W. Goethe to Henry James and Virginia Woolf. The success of recent works like Margaret Atwood’s Hag-seed and Anne Enright’s Actress attests to the genre’s continuing attractions in the 21st century. But to what extent can literary renderings of theatre and performance really compensate for the absence of the thing itself?
Pages are never stages — indeed, much of what is called Theatre Studies has arisen from impulses to accentuate all that theatre is beyond the written word. My presentation explores a paradox that I call “intermedial anamorphosis”. If literary fiction is inevitably a departure from and “enfeeblement” (Scarry) of theatre’s physical and bodily things, nowhere does the medium’s materiality and corporeality receive more rigorous treatment, nowhere are its peculiar contingencies, chemistries, tensions, and feedback-loops more vividly registered, than on (and through their tensions with) the pages of theatre-novels. With an emphasis on pedagogy, I suggest ways in which theatre-fiction can be integrated into teaching — not merely as a temporary substitute for live theatre but as a remarkably defamiliarising lens upon it.

Uncontrolled Keywords: Wegotrhythmpanel8
Subjects: Performing Arts
Divisions: Publications > Conference Paper
Depositing User: Ms Ashalatha Krishnan
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2021 07:57
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2021 07:57
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