Things that fall over : Women's playwriting, poetics and the (anti-)musical

Murray, Peta (2012) Things that fall over : Women's playwriting, poetics and the (anti-)musical. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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Abstract

Abstract: This study explores the contradictions and ambivalences experienced by a working artist at a time when her age, her gender, and broader cultural shifts are all potential obstacles or liabilities to creative flourishing. It is the product of practice-led research into the creative process from the perspective of the female "late bloomer". In this phrase, I have in mind the mature-aged woman who is, in mid-life, suddenly seized with inspiration and fired with creative energy. At its heart is the question: If an Elizabeth Jolley were in our midst today, would we hear from her? The result is a full-length libretto and accompanying exegetical binoculars in the form of a Preface and an Afterword. The creative work, Things That Fall Over (TTFO) is conceived in two parts: a libretto and oratorio for performance. It begins as a play, but over three acts and into a coda, the work becomes something entirely other - an (anti-) musical.

The work grew from a personal interest in the nexus between women, ageing and creative practice, via investigation into the oeuvre of two Australian artists, Elizabeth Jolley, author, first published at age 53, and Rosalie Gascoigne, sculptor, first exhibited at 58. A second strand of the research grew from a fascination for the stage musical, especially in its more alternative modes as in the hands of Stephen Sondheim, or in more provocative manifestations as witnessed in recent Tony Award winners Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon.

Contextually, this research is conducted at a time when anecdotal evidence suggests that women’s work in the performing arts and in literature is being pushed to the margins after a late twentieth century Golden Age on page and stage. Using hybrid practice-led methodologies - bricolage, log-keeping - and working within queer and feminist paradigms, this study seeks to counter that push with a new work that is all-female, part-pantomime, part monstrous allegory. In illuminating the creative process of a mature-aged playwright it concludes that hybrid and interstitial forms still offer an inclusive and democratic space in which voices that may otherwise be muted will continue to be heard.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 53579
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Bray, Errol & Makeham, Paul B.
Keywords: Australian theatre, creative writing, feminist theatre, intertextuality, women’s playwriting, women’s theatre, queer theatre, the anti- musical, the creative process
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 12 Sep 2012 04:40
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 01:51

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