Re-directing George Bernard Shaw: Exploring the staging of Shaw's play-texts for contemporary audiences through practice as research
Smith, Aisling Máire
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At the convergence of performance studies and Shavian studies, this thesis explores the staging of Shaw’s play-texts for contemporary audiences through Practice as Research (PaR). This document charts and analyses three PaR projects conducted: the creation and staging of a site-specific production of O’Flaherty V.C. (1915); the creation and staging of an epic theatre production of Pygmalion (1912); the creation and staging of an intermedial theatre production of The Millionairess (1935). A praxis of theory imbricated within practice was employed during the projects, in accordance with Robin Nelson’s PaR model and Richard Schechner’s performance process model. Applying specific performance styles to Shaw’s plays through intensive studio work, the projects sought to highlight the current socio-political relevance of the works; re-establishing them as pieces of vital political theatre. Each project included the public staging of the created performance-text, from which audience feedback was collected. By investigating Shaw’s plays through practice, the projects open-up a new field of research within Shavian studies and build upon the existing scholarship of Stanley Weintraub; Anthony Roche; Lauren Arrington; Lisa Wilde; Bernard Dukore; Derek McGovern; Peter Gahan; Richard Nickson; Nicholas Williams; Vicki Kennel. Experimenting with the theatre theories of Mike Pearson, Fiona Wilkie, Bertolt Brecht, Elin Diamond, David Barnett, Eric Wiez, Chiel Kattenbelt, Andy Lavender, and Robin Nelson, the projects contribute to performance studies scholarship in the areas of directing, performance processes, site-specific theatre, epic theatre and intermedial theatre. Furthermore, providing a substantial contribution to Irish studies, this thesis seeks to re-establish Shaw as a playwright of immense social importance within the Irish theatrical canon.
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