Dan Kelly danced into the shadows : large-scale personas in small-scale stories

Acworth, Elaine Elizabeth (2008) Dan Kelly danced into the shadows : large-scale personas in small-scale stories. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Using an analysis of the creation of the character Dan Kelly in my play, risk, I argue that fairytale characters work as more than personage representations. They function on a big canvas for the audience; they carry large chains of association. Given this, I then propose that the human response is to infer additional meaning, meaning beyond the scope of plot and immediate character interaction - the audience infers symbolic meaning, ‘amplifying’ what is there into more. They enter a ‘generative empty space’ within the play where they infer or ‘unfold’ more meaning. In creating this ‘greater tale’, they are engaged beyond their personal ‘horizon of understanding’, and so, ‘take in’ the work through a heightened perceptual acuity.

Therefore, I pursued the idea of making space for the operation of this process, of leveraging the creation of meaning around a character. My inquiry led me to believe that a powerful way to do this was through absence rather than presence and silence rather than sound; and this had a profound impact on my choice of form for Dan Kelly: he progressed, through a number of stages, from reportage to a digital representation.

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ID Code: 18342
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Bolland, Craig & Megarrity, David
Keywords: theatre, fairytale, psychological function of fairytales, socio-historical context of fairytales, Bruno Bettelheim, Jack Zipes, chains of association, Jung’s amplification, amplification of meaning, unfold more meaning, Entviklungsfahigkeit, audience co-creation, ‘horizon of understanding’, narrative function, Vladimir Propp, digital representation, liminality, Victor Turner
Divisions: Past > Schools > Creative Writing & Literary Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 26 Feb 2009 01:59
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:52

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