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'Eden Cinema' by Marguerite Duras

Taylor, L. (2005) 'Eden Cinema' by Marguerite Duras. [Performance]

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Abstract/Summary

Duras’s theatre work has been profoundly neglected by UK theatre academics and practitioners, and Eden Cinema has almost no performance history in Britain. My project asked three interconnected research questions: how developing the performance contributes to understanding Duras’s theatre and specifically Eden Cinema’s problems of performability; how multimedia performance emphasising mediated sound and the live body reconfigures memory, autobiography, storytelling, gender and racial identity; how to locate a performance style appropriate for Durasian narratives of displacement and death which reflect the discontinuous and mutable form of Duras’s ‘texte/film/théâtre’. Drawing on my research interests in gender, post-colonial hybridity and performed deconstruction, I focused my staging decisions on the discontinuities and ambivalences of the text. I addressed performability by avoiding the temptation to resolve the strange ellipses in the text and instead evoked the text’s imperfect and fragmented memories, and its uncertain spatial and temporal locations, by means of a fluid theatrical form. The mise-en-scène represented imagined and remembered spaces simultaneously, and co-existing historical moments. The performance style counterpointed live and mediated action and audio-visual forms. A complex through-composed soundscape, comprising voice-over, sound and music, became a key means for evoking overlapping temporalities, interconnected narratives and fragmented memories that were dispersed across the performance. The disempowerment of the mother figure and the silent indigenous servant in the text was demonstrated through their spatial centrality but physical stillness. The servant’s colonial subaltern identity was paralleled and linked with the mother’s disenfranchisement through their proxemic relationships. I elicited a performance style which evoked ‘characters’, whose being was deferred across different regimes of reality and who ‘haunted’ the stage rather than inhabited it. I developed the project further in the additional written outcomes and presentations, and the subsequent performance of Savannah Bay where problems of performability intensify until embodiment is almost erased except via voice.

Item Type:Performance
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:33183

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