The silence of the lamps : visibility, agency and artistic objects in the play production process
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This thesis is a case study which looks at the creation of two theatre productions. Using the literature of Actor-Network Theory as a methodological provocation, it analyses the processes by which networks of actors created these theatre pieces with particular attention to where agency was observed. Through data gathered through observing material interactions, the thesis develops the concept of the (play)text: an object that is an expression of the ideas of the text, but is not the text itself – rather, a bricolage of ‘translations’ of a piece of written and rehearsed work bound together by time and combined action. Conceiving of the eventual product – the (play)text in performance – as an example of the ANT concept of an agencement, a network of different people and objects working together to maintain a stable construction, but one which perpetually refines and redefines each of its component parts – this thesis proposes that the (play)text is an example of a dynamic and fractional artistic object, stabilised only briefly in the moments of its performance. Examining the theatre production process in this way contributes to ANT literature by providing specific examples of an artistic object created materially and agentively; it also highlights the limitations of the ways in which theatre has been used as a metaphor within Organisation Studies. Finally, it contributes to work on process change in showing an object which is, though it appears constantly improvisational and changing in its form, stabilised by material interactions.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy