Performed Ethnography and Communication : Improvisation and Embodied Experience book cover
1st Edition

Performed Ethnography and Communication
Improvisation and Embodied Experience

ISBN 9781138789029
Published April 6, 2018 by Routledge
234 Pages

USD $44.95

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Book Description

Performed Ethnography and Communication explores the relationships between these three key terms, addressing the impact of ethnography and communication on the cutting edge of performance studies. Ranging from digital performance, improvisation and the body, to fieldwork and staged collaboration, this volume is divided into two main sections:

  • "Embodied technique and practice," which addresses improvisation, devised theatre-making, and body work to consider what makes bodies move, sound, behave, mean, or appear differently, and the effects of these differences on performance;
  • "Oral history and personal narrative performance," which is concerned with the ways personal stories and histories might be transformed into public events, looking at questions of perspective, ownership, and reception.

Including specific historical and theoretical case studies, exercises and activities, and practical applications for improvisation, ethnography, and devised and digital performance, Performed Ethnography and Communication represents an invaluable resource for today’s student of performance studies, communication studies or cultural studies.

Table of Contents

List of figures

PART 1 Embodied technique and practice

Chapter 1 Embodied technique and practice

  • Technique
  • Practice
  • Interview with Ben Spatz
  • Examples of technique and practice
  • Case study one: Digital Portobelo with Renee Alexander Craft

Chapter 2 Improvisation

  • The inherited body we bring to performance practice
  • Key concepts in improvisational acting and performance
  • Examples

Chapter 3 Devised theatre

  • Ethnographic data and process
  • Suggested stages for devised performance
  • In summary
  • Interview with Honey Pot Performance
  • Case study two: the digital in dialogic performance across two continents

Chapter 4 Movement and scenes of body work

  • Warm-up improvisations for neutral mask
  • Efforts and factors from Laban/Bartenieff
  • Improvisation exercises for efforts and factors
  • Improvisational exercises for BESS
  • The 5Rhythms from Gabrielle Roth
  • Augusto Boal and Newspaper Theatre

PART 2 Oral history and personal narrative performance

Chapter 5 The value of oral history and life story

  • Who owns the story?
  • Interview with E. Patrick Johnson
  • Oral history as permission, public pedagogy, and provocation
  • On truth

Chapter 6 The narrative/narrated event and the anatomy of emotion 

  • The narrative event
  • The narrated event
  • Case study three: holograms in a live staging of history: Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

Chapter 7 Anatomy of emotion: the brain, performance, and oral history

  • Proprioception
  • Mirror neurons and simulation theory

Chapter 8 Performing oral history and life stories

  • Solo performance
  • Exercises

Chapter 9 Viewpoints in rehearsal

  • Examples
  • Selected viewpoints for oral history and performance
  • Case study four: the storyteller's magnified embodiments in real-time telling

Chapter 10 Jerzy Grotowski's plastiques and Viola Spolin's speech and sound

  • The brain of the body and the body of the brain
  • Interview with Stephen Wangh
  • Examples

Epilogue: the intermix of performance, ethnography, and communication
Appendix: illustration of creativity and the brain

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D. Soyini Madison is Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University, USA.