‘The Walking Dramaturg as a Methodology for Documentation‘
University of Exeter
Technology usually implies the distanciation of the human experience, but I argue that what technology has enabled can teach us something about the role of multiplicity and the rhizomatic nature of history and storytelling. And re-storytelling.
In this paper provocation, I look at the subject position of the researcher in terms of the walking dramaturg, whereas the catalogue of such experience becomes a form of performance documentation in the archive of theater histories.
I argue that what is missing in our current documentation, records and archives of performance is a nuanced understanding of the documenter’s subject position. Instead of insisting on a kind of bird’s eye view, or impossible objectivity, one must come to terms with the multifarious subject positions that contribute to the archive. This also drives the potential functions of performance documentation beyond creating a record of evidence.
A dramaturg’s role in performance documentation is worthy of analysis seeing as he/she is the only figure who moves in an out of the process and casts both an inner and outer eye in the production as a whole, rendering elisions that blur and clarify the creator/spectator binary. They are onlife imaginers of the performance who may then choose to express their experience both offline and online as they mediate with what Ledger, Ellis and Wright write in “The Question of Documentation: Creative Strategies in Performance” in Kershaw and Nicholson’s edited collection Research Methods in Performance and Theater where “documentation is an implicit part of practice as research” (181) as “issues of mediatisation, replication, remediation, interpretation and documentation’s relationship with other forms of recording, response and analysis—most obviously critical writing—are further reflections.”(182) I am then accepting the challenge of documentation to “consider the dynamic possibilities of the form, methods, purpose and spectatorship of their chosen documentation methods, and to assert its presence as part of an entirely valid creative research methodology.” (Ledger et al. 183) And the act of walking is the mode which I select to respond to this call.
Giselle Garcia is a dramaturg, writer and cultural programmer who has worked at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Ma-Yi Theater Company (NYC) and Lark Play Development Center (NYC) after completing her M.A. in Theater (Dramaturgy) in Hunter College, CUNY. She also taught at the Fine Arts and English Departments of the Ateneo de Manila University Her Ph.D research, funded by the College of the Humanities International Studentship investigates how the work of dramaturgy in the Philippines is answerable to the spatial events of Shakespearean performance and to the country’s capital city, Manila, as an urban setting that shapes acts of translation and adaptation.