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Staging Thought

Essays on Irish Theatre, Scholarship and Practice

Edited By Rhona Trench

This collection of essays showcases the rich diversity of current writing about Irish theatre. The volume includes perspectives from experts in scenography, physical theatre, dramaturgy and stand-up comedy, as well as academic contributions drawing from anthropology, psychology, sociology, gender studies and performance studies. Exploring plays, events, exhibitions, performances, and rehearsal and realization processes, the essays provide a stimulating analysis of the languages and procedures of theatre in Ireland. The book demonstrates that performance studies and practices are continuing to expand, suggesting that Ireland’s text-centric theatre has begun to cast its net further afield and pointing to the rich possibilities within Irish theatre, scholarship and practice, now and for the future.

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Foreword by Thomas Kilroy xix

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Foreword There is no place more desolate than an empty stage. The odd stage lamp abandoned in one corner. Perhaps, an old table and rickety chair to one side, left over from some earlier encounter, maybe an audition. And, every- where, dust. Like all deserted spaces, the empty stage cries out for human habitation, human action, human voices. This odd potency, this sense of imminence, of something about to happen, is one of the essential ingredi- ents of the theatrical imagination. Playwrights dif fer from other writers in several important respects. One such dif ference is in this spatial dimension in the process of making plays. Playwrights think of writing in terms of space. Thinking of space, of where the thing is going to happen, may come before a word is written. This suggests that space itself may be one of the spurs which gets going the imagination of a playwright. The nature of the space, its dimensions. Its physicality, its decoration or absence of it, is like an invitation to the actor to appear, to perform. In the Beckett manuscripts in the Trinity College Library there are drafts, notes towards the writing of stage works that are written in the form of geometrical diagrams, A to B to C to D, like theorems waiting to be solved. This mathematical exactitude is an extreme version of what I am talking about. But, when you think about it, such precision, such attention to space, is a crucial feature of all Beckett’s...

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