Dramaturgy and Structure - Actions at Work

Feature in Issue 7-3 | Autumn 1995

Text, before being adopted to refer to that which was written or spoken, actually meant ‘weaving together’. One can therefore reason that the combination of gesture and actions create a ‘text’ of their own and indeed that any ‘performance’ includes some kind of text. Admittedly, the weaving together of the ‘performance’ text is often harder to gauge than a text which is written in words and easily transmissible before and after a show.

It is this weaving together that is the focal point of the mime and physical theatre deviser, director, writer or dramaturg – that is, drama ergon, the work of actions.

Actions, however, refer not only to those of the actors, but equally to changes in the performance space, sound, lighting and so on. These actions only come into play when they are woven together by an outside force providing them with the texture. This raises interesting questions around the structuring of new work. Should we be encouraging the emergence of dramaturgs for physical theatre who could offer structuring support, not as a replacement for the director or writer, but rather as a fresh set of eyes and ideas, ready to guide and suggest rather than dictate? Or should we be looking to the writer, deviser and director to develop their structuring skills in keeping with the principles of mime and physical theatre? Or both? The following articles explore some current issues.


This article in the magazine

Issue 7-3
p. 9