Directing through montage : a chronological look at the construction of performance through the creation and combination of its various elements
This thesis is an investigation into the working practices of Odin Teatret. It focuses on the making of the latest group performance, Kaosmos, made between 1992-1993. The thesis extracts certain transmissible principles of practice from the process of Kaosmos. These principles are concerned with the director's work on performance. The work of the actor is therefore only referred in order to illuminate or explain this. The thesis covers all areas of creative work involved in making performance: the director's instructions, the actors' actions, the texts, music, songs, sound, set, lighting, costumes and props. This is the first study of the work of Eugenio Barba that follows his process of making a performance from inception to finish, and, from this, extracts principles of practice. This is not just a theoretical or historical document, but one that can hopefully contribute to the working practices of other directors. The method of investigation was primarily practical. I was assigned the role of assistant director on Kaosmos. This gave me a daily insight into the working practice of Odin Teatret in rehearsal. The thesis documents this process through practical analysis and extracts from my work diary. It concludes with a performance-text of Kaosmos, the basis of which I created during the process as a working document for Barba and the actors. The thesis is divided into two main parts: the first part gives the theoretical background to the working practices to be documented later in the thesis. The second part shows how these theories of practice were actually implemented in rehearsal. The aspects here perceived as being central to the making of performance are: 1) the ability to begin work on a performance at a stage before meanings, characters and narratives have been established and 2) the use of montage as the main structural dynamic in the creation of performance. The intention of the thesis is not to draw any hard-and-fast conclusions. This would endanger the creative nature of the practice it documents and turn the information here offered into a handbook of rules. The intention is rather to allow the information to inspire and inform other practitioners, without creating any definition of how this should occur. It is of upmost importance that each artist interpret and use what is here written in their own individual manner. All the quotes are given in their language of publication, all translations contained in the text are by myself.