On going on : the ethic of impossibility in the performance of Samuel Beckett's prose
Citation:Nicholas E. Johnson, 'On going on : the ethic of impossibility in the performance of Samuel Beckett's prose', [thesis], Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). Department of Drama, 2009, pp 361
Johnson TCD THESIS 8732 On going.pdf (PDF) 231.7Mb
This dissertation presents a history of performances of the prose of Samuel Beckett and illuminates a theory of prose performance through readings of his work. Unifying a phenomenological reading of prose performance with the negative and multiple subject put forward in Beckett's oeuvre, this dissertation will inaugurate an "ethic of impossibility" which permeates the creation and viewing of performed prose. The first chapter introduces theoretical foundations from Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Theodor Adomo, and Alain Badiou, developing a phenomenological reading of prose performance and examining the "negative aesthetics" and ethics which result. The second chapter integrates Beckett's own philosophical antecedents and descendents with this framework, focusing particularly on his unique approach to subjectivity. Chapters Three, Four, and Five each treat a specific lineage within the history of prose performance, examining "pure audio" performance, single-text adaptation, and multi-text adaptations respectively. The sixth chapter combines a study of genre in Beckett with the legal situation surrounding prose adaptation, while the conclusion to the thesis examines the practical implications for adaptor, audience, and academic. Using the methods of phenomenology and the language of poststructuralism as complementary tools, this dissertation examines what occurs for Beckett's prose when it is performed, as well as the implications for the theatre when Beckett's non-dramatic material is placed on stage. It is presumed from the outset that something is both lost and gained when text makes the transition from a genre of prose into performance. To identify these transactions is one goal of this work; another is to define, as precisely as possible, the subjects and objects of these changes which occur in adaptation. Ultimately, a new and flexible theory of prose performance should emerge, providing both a taxonomy of techniques and a practical tool for the staging of Beckett's prose works.
Author: Johnson, Nicholas E.
Publisher:Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). Department of Drama
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Type of material:thesis
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