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Myer Taub

This case study explains how to integrate performance with a written text and the speculation of the self. It also looks at how a proposal in activating performance might inform a document of research experience, interpolated as dramatic content emerging from a model of reflexive framing and inter-modality. It shows how a process of reproduction might contribute to a shape of a particular modified case study methodology appropriated from Qualitative social research theorist, Robert K Yin. This methodology has three frames: exploratory, descriptive and explanatory. The composition of these frames is a process of making and reflecting on the making. The composition of the frames engenders an explanation of the experiment as much as they translate the experiment. It means making a system that is actively aware of its own histories. It is a transformative and original methodology that relies on framing and perforating the frame. In the context of the chapter, it also becomes a research document that introduces the notion of hauntology as contribution to this making of methodology. It is the ghost who emerges from the perforation, into the frame. This is Derridean and the chapter’s reflection is an ongoing research project – with its primary source being derived from his Specters of Marx. This is also the ghost of Florence Phillips that speaks back at the work through the reflective document of a stage play called Florence. The presentation of dramatic text forms part of both the explanatory frame of research and the reflexive space in performance. I present, in the later half of the chapter, three fragments from the stage play: Florence.

Themes in Theatre

Collective Approaches to Theatre and Performance

The series Themes in Theatre is published in association with the International Federation for Theatre Research/Fédération Internationale pour la Recherche Théâtrale (FIRT/IFTR) and provides a publishing environment for collective work by its members. Monographs are not considered for this series; it aims at volumes that are characterised by a high level of interconnectedness – each author clearly contributing to a central subject within the field of theatre and performance. The fact that the multiple authors will have discussed the subject and their contributions among each other not only ensures a high level of consistency within each volume but also results in a gamut of approaches and perspectives that nevertheless are centrally focused.
As such the series reflects contemporary issues and current scholarship within international theatre studies. Its main contributors are the working groups of the FIRT/IFTR consisting of specialists working on diverse subjects at the forefront of theatre research. Therefore Themes in Theatre is not limited to any specific ‘-ism’, theatre genre, approach or methodology. As long as academic standards are met and the collectivity of the work is ensured we welcome historical, critical, theoretical, analytical or other subjects that are related to the theatrical arts. However, the set-up of the series is such that it explicitly furthers interdisciplinary work and reflection on concepts and methods.
For information on the FIRT/IFTR, its working groups and yearly conferences, please see the website:
www.firt-iftr.org.

The series published two volumes over the last 5 years.

Andrew Cope

This input introduces the fresh epistemological potential which might be teased from some comparison of the traditional figure of the communal mystic, or shaman, with examples of early cinema’s slapstick clowns: performers who might endure in a popular and a philosophical relevance, through their critical location at the dawn of a new age of technology. Seizing on the work of Buster Keaton in particular, the contribution considers some representative footage as if it were the visual utterance of a sage—perhaps one trying to rescue a sublime materiality from the threat of the super-functionalism that would come to define late modernity. By way of its comparative method the chapter reflects, as it invokes, the content and mood of an overarching research agenda, which challenges the fragmenting ontological distinction of people from those material objects, which tend to be perceived as inert. The subsequent reframing of Keaton’s slapstick makes some vital connections with ancient drama, contemporary performance studies, and the burgeoning material culture project. The methodological returns, of this interdisciplinary approach, help to illuminate just how this Keaton’s comedy might work to heal the enduring rift with a process-earth. But as the performance and materiality discourses intertwine, they also conspire to provide some reminder of a shamanic spirit that withstands in any dwelling on the productivity of encounters—as this accepts pedagogical varieties such as this one.