On 12 April, the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre hosted a colloquium on Dramaturgy, Scenography and Artistic Research with Synne Behrndt and Jon Refsdal Moe (Stockholm University of the Arts) and Sodja Lotker (DAMU).
The aim of this colloquium is to investigate the dramaturgy of devised theatre and to make a number of proposals about contemporary devising as artistic research. Devised dramaturgies are ‘outcomes’ of sophisticated research-based processes, and we will articulate the different ways in which contemporary practices and processes are, by their very nature, research in and through action.
Devising is best described as an approach where a process begins without a predetermined dramaturgy. It follows that the devisers investigate – through practice - ‘something’ (be it a concept, theme, idea, process, community, proposition), and the performance dramaturgy develops in tandem with the unfolding investigation. Dramaturgy here is articulated through the process of rehearsing and in the beginning it often exists only as an intuition. Devising is a process of uncovering performative potentials and structuring them. It includes playing with the unknown, unspeakable and fluid. In the process deviser finds something out about a given topic whilst simultaneously inventing innovative and practical research strategies, here rehearsal is more akin a laboratory scenario where devisers become active researchers, and are as much inventors of radical and creative methodologies as creators of material.
It is, to us, a given that research is integral to most contemporary performance-making. But it is important to find in what way to talk about the many different strands of ‘knowledge’ which circulate in such processes. What fields and strands of knowledge-creation does the research intersect with and what kind of contribution outside of the art work can the wealth of information and research make. What role does the artist, dramaturg (or creative producer’s) play in collecting and disseminating the research beyond the art work. And how do we document and disseminate artistic methodologies.