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Musicality as a paradigm for the theatre: a kind of manifesto

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Abstract:

In a manifesto of ten theses the author aims to establish the notion of musicality as a paradigmatic principle in creating and perceiving theatre. He outlines how musicality can contribute to, enhance and change working processes in the theatre, be it in naturalistic productions or in a devising context. Key benefits from employing a musical frame of perception for both audiences and practitioners, he argues, are the heightened awareness of form, the productive liberation from the dominance of content and discursive meaning, the self-reflexivity and the potential for a politics of form and perception. The article draws particularly on examples of recent theatre productions from the European (and particularly German-speaking) context, for example by Heiner Goebbels, Michael Thalheimer, Ruedi Husermann or Sebastian Nbling, but the author plans to develop this necessarily restricted manifesto into a wider and historically more far-reaching project in the near future.

Keywords: abstraction; chorus; devising; gestus; musicality; performer training; theatre; working process

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/smt.4.3.293_1

Affiliations: Exeter University.

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • Studies in Musical Theatre is a refereed journal which considers areas of live performance that use vocal and instrumental music in conjunction with theatrical performance as a principal part of their expressive language.
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