Divining the structure: the use of graphic representation in the analysis and performance of dramatic material by David Wicks

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Abstract

The PhD concentrates on the use of simple, hand-drawn graphs and their use as analytical tools to represent conflict, tension, interest and other aspects of dramatic structure in performance material such as plays, screenplays and performance art. The method provides a blueprint for actors and directors that is useful in rehearsal, performance, and remounting of new work and extant dramatic texts. It is also useful for structuring or guiding an audience’s attention and feelings.

The research uses case-study projects to trial and implement radically useful new shapes and ideas for graphic representation of dramatic structure, suggested by the particular needs of each project. The significance, efficacy, and power of elucidation of each new model is noted and discussed. In addition to practical experimentation, the new representations are impactedby disputative readings in philosophy, acting, architecture and the art of drawing. These readings provoke foundational questions such as ‘What is dramatic?’ ‘What is a climax?’ ‘What is duration?’ and ‘What is the role of metaphor in dramatic structure?’

As a result of the deep re-thinking provoked by the PhD process, a range of possibilities have emerged. The research contributes to knowledge by opening up a conversation about the practical and philosophical value of graphically representing dramatic structure, and offers new ways for actors, directors and dramaturgs to communicate with each other through drawing.

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