Composing The Performance : An exploration of musical composition as a dramaturgical strategy in contemporary intermedial theatre

Abstract: This thesis explores musical composition in the context of contemporary theatre. It suggests methods where compositional thinking – broadly understood – can be used as a dramaturgical device in the creation of theatre performances. Such musicalization of theatre provides new methods for an artistic practice and questions traditional artistic hierarchies and working structures. The investigation departs from a process of transference of radiophonic art to stage performances. From this a series of interdisciplinary works in the intersection between concert, theatre performance, radio play and music theatre has been created, each with different approaches to the roles and functions of musical composition. Through these works the creative processes and methods are examined and analysed. The notion of vertical dramaturgy and polyphony in theatre contexts is discussed and demonstrated, which pinpoints the significance of interaction between the elements of a performance. The interplay between dramatic writing, acting methods and musical composition is under scrutiny, as is the way in which visual elements as video, light and scenography are integrated into polyphonic theatre experiences. Transformation is an essential compositional and dramaturgical tool as it allows a performance to move seamlessly between different art forms, continuously creating new relationships. Through the research a model for interdisciplinary, collaborative work in performing arts emerges. The concepts of Shared space and Shared time are introduced and enable a collective ‘thinking-through-practice’ and expansion of the artistic roles. This joint arena of space and time opens up new connections, interactions and mutual exchanges between artists and art forms. The outcome provides a range of artistic methods in the field of contemporary intermedial theatre where musical composition is one of the dramaturgical devices for composing the performances.

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