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DR 308 Sept 12 - Scenario

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Selena Couture

on 17 September 2018

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Transcript of DR 308 Sept 12 - Scenario

DR 308
Wed. Sept 12
Taylor's Archive, Repertoire & Scenario

1. Definitions
2. Examples - and non-examples
3. Questions?
4. Prep for Pizarro Act 1-2 on Friday
Archive & Repertoire - Why do they matter?

“By taking performance seriously as a system of learning, storing, and transmitting knowledge, performance studies allows us to expand what we understand by ‘knowledge.’ ” (16).

Clearly important in a theatre history class to understand these distinctions, but also opens a way to engage with performances as a way to understand and expand what is considered history.

Items supposedly resistant to change

Greek arkhe:‘a public building’’ & ‘‘a place where records are kept.’
a beginning, the first place, the government.

Archival memory works across distance, over time and space

Investigators can go back to reexamine

Archival memory succeeds in separating the source of ‘‘knowledge’’ from the knower— in time and/or space

What changes over time is the value, relevance, or meaning of the archive, how the items it contains get interpreted, even embodied (19).

That it is unmediated, that objects located there might mean something
outside the framing
of the archival impetus itself.
What makes an object archival is the
whereby it is selected, classified, and presented for analysis

That the archive resists change, corruptibility, and political manipulation. Individual things— books, DNA evidence, photo ids— might mysteriously appear in or disappear from the archive (19).
Enacts embodied memory
: performances, gestures, orality, movement, dance, singing— in short, all those acts usually thought of as ephemeral, nonreproducible knowledge.

Repertoire, etymologically ‘‘a treasury, an inventory,’’

Requires presence
: people participate in the production and reproduction of knowledge by ‘‘being there,’’ being a part of the transmission

As opposed to the supposedly stable objects in the archive, the
actions that are the repertoire do not remain the same
. The repertoire both keeps and transforms choreographies of meaning (Sports, dance examples)

But even though the embodiment changes, the
meaning might very well remain the same.
Both exceeding the limitations of the other &
work in tandem

Also alongside
other systems
of transmission,e.g. the digital and the visual

Many practices in the most literate societies
require both an archival and an embodied
dimension, e.g. "weddings need both the performative utterance of ‘'I do’'
the signed contract

The performance of a claim
to its legality
e.g. Columbus planting the Spanish flag in the New World or Neil Armstrong planting the U.S. flag on the moon

Materials from the archive shape embodied practice in innumerable ways, yet never totally dictate embodiment (20-21).
Not sequential or binary
written archives
does not equal
dominant power
does not
only mean resistance

Performance belongs to the strong as well as the weak

Tension btw them is important

Different means of transmission and storage means we can understand more if we work in the overlapping area of the two

A method to draw out knowledge contained in
the archive and the repertoire

conscious intentions of placement –either on a stage or elsewhere

includes all of the codes of the environment that give viewers information (class, historical context)

also the possibilities of the action that can occur in this place b/c
all places have always had history and social practice
social constructs of bodies in particular contexts

importance of “visual detail in describing the attributes of the characters” – externals: age, sex, status, appearance, queerness

distance btw social actor and character
through mimesis (of actor assuming a role) or performativity (“social actors assuming socially regulated patterns of appropriate behavior”) (30).

Using a scenario as a framework, it is more possible to
keep the friction
btw the
social actor
the role

predispose certain outcomes

while also allowing for reversal, parody and change.

A fixed repeatable frame that is transferable and can reference each other – stereotypical.

Each repeating adds to its power, but over time, may change in meaning
Taylor's example: Christians expelling Moors became conversion instead of conquering
multifaceted modes at work in transmission

writing, dancing, singing, gesture, telling – not reducible to each other

recognize strengths and limitations of each instead of translating.
Place ourselves in relationship to the performance

Witness / spectator – part of the act of transfer

Also includes the moment of encountering the archival document (reading / viewing recording/ holding costume or prop used)
Not a copy, not necessarily mimetic (imitation)

rather than

Taylor concludes:

“The rift, I submit, does not lie between the written and spoken word, but
between the archive of
enduring materials
(i.e. texts, documents, buildings, bones)
and the
repertoire of embodied practice/knowledge
(i.e. spoken language, dance, sports, ritual).
Writing practices existed prior to Europeans arriving in Americas - some still extent.
But not dominant
Censored and tenuous … easier to control by hierarchies than embodied culture.
After European invasion (aka "Conquest"), writing did not displace embodied practice, but writing legitimated as more powerful than other systems.
Allowed imperial centres to control from distance – quotes Jesuit philosopher Michel de Certeau: “The power that writing’s expansionism leaves intact is colonial in principle. It is extended without being changed…” (18).
Performative practices no longer carried legal weight in colonized societies & experts no longer recognized.
1. Physical Location
2. Embodiment of Social Actors
3. Formulaic structures
4. Multiplicity of Modes:
5. We Are There
6. Once-againness
Taylor's example: frontier myths of US – reused to hunt Osama Bin Laden (who was code-named Geronimo) – brings past back again.
Taylor argues that the Scenario, “allows us to more fully recognize the many ways in which the archive and the repertoire work to constitute and transmit social knowledge. The scenario
places spectators within its frame, implicating us in its ethics and politics
” (33).
trace traditions and influences as they move
, e.g. trace history through differing performances of a repertoire (like a Shepherd’s Play) following its route.

Disappearance of things in a repertoire – but also in archives but different ways

Replicate themselves through their own structures and codes. This means that the
repertoire, like the archive, is mediated:
selection, memorization or internalization, and transmission

Multiple forms
of embodied acts are always present.
Reconstitute themselves, transmitting communal memories, histories, and values from one group/generation to the next. Embodied and performed acts
generate, record, and transmit knowledge
Example: The Citadel's A Christmas Carol --> physical location?
Example: Benedict Cumberbarch as Scrooge?
Dickens' Christmas Carol - melodramatic redemption...family, Christian charity, love over money. 2018 in Edmonton?
Example: Spectacular set design; sound; costume... would it have the same impact if in a black box with low production values?
Non-example: Only meaning from Dicken's novel - also influenced by 1951 film
Christmas Carol: Audience that attends - at different ages. For some this is the only theatre all year. Matters that it is at Christmas.
Seen film? Read novel? No prior knowledge?
A Christmas Carol: ur-text of charity in Western canon. Redeployed constantly
Soviet Missile during Cold War - called Scooge by NATO
Friday - read Act 1& 2 of Sheridan's
[2 copies on reserve at Rutherford]

Early type of melodramatic play- about villainous Pizarro, the Spanish Invader of Peru - and Rolla the heroic Peruvian warrior who defeats him (in the play)

We'll use the play to further apply ideas of scenario.
Full transcript