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Title: Playwriting as a visual art : a study of contemporary English-speaking dramaturgy using the works of five playwrights trained as fine artists
Author: Di Benedetto, Stephen Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0001 3423 3302
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 1999
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In a visual culture where the dividing line between the theatrical and visual art forms is becoming increasingly blurred, it is important to reconsider the ways in which the spatial is conceived. Space is another non-linguistic medium of communication-it does not convey ideas through language, but through an array of visual and spatial components augmented by aural or linguistic threads. Robert Wilson, Maria Irene Fames, John Byme, David Storey and John Arden were trained as fine artists before becoming playwrights. Their works are used to describe stage space as a visible medium of expression. These playwrights make use of principles from painting, sculpture and installation to create spatio-temporal images that work with a text to form a theatrical performance. They have constructed their pieces with an implicit visual structure that is essential to their staging. Each manipulates aesthetic concepts gleaned from the fine arts as mechanisms to create three dimensional theatrical compositions, which can be categorised as 'scopic building blocks'. By analysing these mechanisms with a methodology and vocabulary drawn from the visual arts, a theatrical conception of spatial analysis will become apparent. These playwrights will be placed in the context of the theatre as a seeing place, into which artists often have crossed over and made use of as an expressive form. Then a summary of the playwrights' fine art training will introduce their aesthetic technique, thereby connecting their visual art and theatrical work. Their working methods will be examined so that their 'playwriting' or 'visual scripting' can be defined. Once the evidence is presented, there will be an exploration of the ways in which these techniques can be applied to physical theatre, theatres of images or other visually influenced texts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral