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The human life that’s here: A Symposium investigating Quarantine’s Quartet
- How does the structure of the dramaturgy organise the idea of a life/lives lived through performance?
- In what ways is the ‘liveness’ of the theatre event integral to its composition?
- To what extent do the performers appear as themselves, and how do they experience themselves performing?
- How does the scenography construct and draw attention to the specific nature of the theatrical event and extended relational modes of encounter?
- What are the ways in which spectators are invited to participate in the work, and to what extent do they experience themselves as its co-creators?
Pre-symposium reception and Keynote lecture, ‘Staging the People: Performance, presence and representation’ (Adrian Kear, TFTS)
This lecture will seek to set-up and investigate a key question at the heart of the inter-relation between politics and aesthetics: the inevitable gap and potential conflict between presence and representation made manifest in the internal contradictions and recurrent tensions of the ‘distribution of the sensible’ (Rancire 2004: 12). It will examine how the practice of ‘staging the people’ might be considered central to imaging and constituting ‘the people’ in an increasingly theatricalised social formation and to managing their ‘political claim’ (Rancière 1999: 87—88)
The argument will build on comparative analysis of two contemporary theatre works explicitly concerned with ‘staging the people’, performed in Manchester and Salford in the Spring of 2016: Quarantine’s Quartet and Rimini Protokoll’s 100% Salford. Both works examine how the lived experience of everyday lives might be brought to the stage through an apparent logic of presentation rather than representation: by ordinary people occupying the space of theatrical performance rather than seeing themselves and their lives represented by others (i.e. ‘actors’ – whether theatrical or political). Following the reading of these (pre-Brexit) works, the lecture seeks to question whether the aesthetic shift towards self-presentation might correlate with a broader critique of the structures of political representation, or whether the frame of representation anticipates, accommodates and appropriates the materiality of presence in advance.
The Symposium is held in conjunction with the Wallflower Quarantine residency, The Foundry studio, Department of Theatre Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University, 1 – 7 October 2016. Quarantine will spend a week developing their latest touring work Wallflower in Aberystwyth. At the end of the week’s residency there will be two open performances at 19.00 – 20.30pm on Thursday 6th October and 14.00 – 19.00 Friday 7th October. Wallflower is an attempt to recall every dance you’ve ever danced. This work was first explored with MA students in the TFTS department before being fully developed for the premiere at the Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival, Groningen, NL. Recently returned from the Göteborgs Dans & Teater Festival in Sweden, Quarantine will continue to develop Wallflower in Aberystwyth, supported and observed by the students in the Department before its UK premiere as part of Dance Umbrella at Battersea Arts Centre, London.