The Empty City (playreading)

Megarrity, David & Fenton, David R. (2012) The Empty City (playreading). [Performance]


This 45 minute non-verbal intermedial performance for children was adapted from the picture book I authored of the same name. The process involved writing and re-writing text and music with the result being a new draft of both script and soundtrack. Part of the judging process for the award the script was nominated for involved a playreading, which offered a particular challenge to the researcher in terms of composition and playwriting. How can a script and soundtrack for a non-verbal, intermedial work adapt and innovate the within the formal and practical constraints of the traditional ‘playreading’?

This project’s emphasis on nestling intermediality within ostensibly traditional theatrical constraints and processes draws on concepts of musicalisation, identified by Varopolou. (in Lehmann 2006:91) Certain ‘musical moments’ in the piece echoed Ross Brown’s (2010) acoustemological concepts of sonification of everyday life, and the process involved dynamic curation of ‘music under’ for emotional effect, avoiding cinematic clichés and reaching for connections between music and emotion characterized by scholars such as Juslin and Sloboda (2001)

The resulting performance was a hybrid of playreading and slideshow, supported by an original soundtrack of ‘music under’ (pre-recorded, but ‘DJ’ed’ live) as well as text-driven moments where music and sound were foregrounded. Research contribution

This iteration of The Empty City shows that the tradition of the playreading can be a playful space where even the multiple layers of an intermedial performance text can be represented.

The Empty City was a finalist in the 2012-13 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award. A ticketed public playreading of the script was held in the Queensland Theatre Company’s Bille Brown Studio on the 28th of July 2012 alongside the other finalists.

Impact and interest:

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140 since deposited on 02 Jan 2013
18 in the past twelve months

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ID Code: 56012
Item Type: Creative Work (Performance)
Refereed: No
Funders: Queensland Theatre company
Material: Script and Performance
Measurements or Duration: 62 minutes
Number of Pieces: 1
Location: From date: To date:
Bille Brown Studio, Montague Road, South Brisbane 2012-02-01 2012-07-28
Keywords: theatre, intermediality, playwriting, composition, playreading
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > OTHER STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190999)
Divisions: Past > Schools > Drama
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Deposited On: 02 Jan 2013 05:17
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2013 00:54

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