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Title: "Could these hours have lasted ..." : representations of live performance described, analysed and evaluated
Author: Reason, Matthew Alden
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2003
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For centuries, the contrast between ‘live’ performance and its representation in scripts and scores, along with visual depictions and verbal descriptions (particularly the journalistic review), has been relatively straightforward. As Ben Jonson writes in his preface to The Masque of Blackness, he publishes the work because the splendour of the performance could not last. Although scripts, along with music scores and dance notation, often have an anterior function to performance, their ‘representational’ role is also significant. In order to exist beyond the moment of its creation live performance has always needed representing in some more enduring form. However, in the last hundred years a more complex relationship has developed between live performance and the representation, or even creation, of performance by various technological methods (film, audio-tape etc). The ability of technology to present ‘non live’ performances challenges the status of all representations of live performance, what languages (visual, verbal, or other) do justice to communicating the unique qualities of the ‘live’? This thesis addresses the issue of ‘liveness’, aiming to describe and analyse how the live is represented in various media (largely in the last two decades) and to evaluate components of good practice in representing liveness. Chapter One investigates the relationship between live and non live performances, focusing attention on ‘live’ as a disputed term. This enquiry identifies a distinct perception of liveness, present in our cultural experience and represented in discourse. Chapter Two examines sociological and practical attempts to quantify this perception, and looks at how the experience of liveness is made manifest and meaningful through ‘audience talk’. To take this further, this enquiry applies discourse analysis to some original qualitative audience research. Chapter Three examines attempts to represent live performance in a range of media (photography, archiving, notation, video-recording), considering how a desire to counter the transience of liveness gives rise to a significance urgency to document performance. The thesis proposes that, across the spectrum of media considered in these chapters, the methods and practices of representation constitute in their own right a positive cultural valuation of liveness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available