Narrative vs. Narrative
11 June @ 6.00pm
Rather than define a “narrative” by insisting it have an inherent set of traits or qualities, I am interested in what points of focus arise if we define “narrative” as being based on context and use. I approach this research through the lens of contemporary performance since 2007, paying particular attention to how “narrative” sits within my own work, and the work of artists in my professional network through Forest Fringe.
In this presentation, I will be focusing on the narrative expectation of conflict as a point of focus, particularly in reference to my most recent one-on-one Drifting Right. Drifting Right was a conversation with one audience member in a canoe, whilst on open water, but the audience member had to be someone who had voted Conservative in the last election. In the piece I am open about my own left-leaning political views, and together we interrogate to what extent a cross-political dialogue (rather than debate) is possible and useful.
The presentation considers the history and hunger for conflict (and conflict resolution) as an expectation of the narrative model, and examines this expectation in other contemporary performance pieces, including Theatre Replacement’s Winners and Losers, Action Hero’s Slap Talk and Made in China’s Gym Party.
I am going into my third year of a practice-based PhD at Royal Holloway. My research considers the points of pre-occupation that arise when contemporary performances are contextualized as “narrative.” I founded and co-direct the artist-led producing collective Forest Fringe, perhaps best known for the free venue we have run at the Edinburgh Festival since 2007. I am a theatre writer and performer and make experimental solo pieces which tour internationally. I also write plays and librettos on commission for larger companies like Volcano in Canada, with whom I am an associate artist. I am currently touring a solo piece called The Future Show, in which I tell the story of the rest of my life, starting from the end of the performance and finishing with my death. The Future Show is partially rewritten for every new space and time in which it is performed. Forest Fringe have won a Fringe First, two Herald Angels and the Peter Brooke Empty Space Award. In my practice as an artist I have won a Herald Angel and been shortlisted for the Total Theatre Award for Innovation, an Arches Brick Award and a Dora Award for best new opera.