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Layers of relevance: Writing the author's story into dramaturgy

McCluskey, Bill (2021) Layers of relevance: Writing the author's story into dramaturgy. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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This dissertation is a practice-led research project which investigates the creative relationship between the playwright’s life narrative, the play-text and the dramaturgical process undertaken by the director of that text. This relationship results from the reading of: a memoir; a play which draws on material from the memoir; a theoretical, critical commentary on the play-text and the memoir; and reflections on a series of interviews with selected potential directors of the play-text. The two major creative texts in the dissertation are a memoir or a personal history detailing the author’s journey as a child of migrants to Western Australia from Scotland to a mature actor, director and teacher in contemporary Perth; and an epic play-script in two parts, entitled Boomtown. This script interrogates the society and politics of Perth in the resources and development “boom” of the early 21st century through the narrative of a family crisis and tragedy. The exegesis uses the concept of “layers of relevance” to explore the relationship between the modes of artistic process in the project. The dissertation explores the dramaturgical benefits to directors of engaging deeply with the life-narrative of a text’s author, and whether such an engagement with the creative process of the playwright can lead to a generative dramaturgical process for both director and writer. The thesis provides insight into a potential model of dramaturgical process. This proposition and the initiation of it is predicated on plays where the personal history of the playwright is detected in the creative work.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Social Sciences and Arts
Supervisor(s): Grehan, Helena
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