Title page for ETD etd-04252012-160606

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Waychoff, Brianne
Author's Email Address brianne.waychoff@gmail.com
URN etd-04252012-160606
Title Composing a Method: Écriture Féminine as Performance Practice
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bowman, Michael S. Committee Chair
Bowman, Ruth Laurion Committee Member
Egéa-Kuehne, Denise Committee Member
Hall, Rachel Committee Member
Protevi, John Committee Member
Zhou, Gang Dean's Representative
  • Philosophy
  • Irigaray
  • Performance Studies
  • Devised Performance
  • Écriture Féminine
  • Kristeva
  • Heuretics
  • Cixous
Date of Defense 2012-04-16
Availability unrestricted
The overall aim of this project is to theorize and invent a method of performance based on écriture féminine. This method is meant to be useable, generative, and transferable to other practitioners. Following a heuretic practice of reading selected texts for what they suggest about making new texts, writerly method that invites expansion in future research is revealed. This project is but a beginning of an articulation and proposes only one path through these texts. The tracking of the process of reading and experimenting with performance provides a space for reflection that illuminates gaps to be explored in future work.

The purpose of this study is three-fold. The first aim is to articulate a method for creating postdramatic devised feminist performance as an entry into and extension of the history of feminist performance and theater. Second, I advocate the use of écriture féminine as a generative starting point for devising rather than an after-the-fact application that subordinates performance to philosophy. The use I advocate moves beyond the application of philosophical ideas to performance examples to bring performance and philosophy into contact with one another and generate new ideas of both based on a mutually affective encounter. Finally, by using écriture féminine in this way I hope to reintroduce it into the feminist performance conversation from which it is often left out or dismissed as essentialist. I approached this project in three phases. The first phase was the close reading of Stigmata by Hélène Cixous, Strangers to Ourselves by Julia Kristeva, and The Irigaray Reader by Luce Irigaray and edited by Margaret Whitford. In this phase I gleaned compositional principles to use in performance experimentation. The second phase involved the rehearsal and experimentation process, which culminated in the public performance. In the third phase I review my close reading notes, the documentation of the rehearsal process, and audience feedback to formulate a picture of the project as a whole and reflect on what was accomplished. The project concludes with a summary and suggestion for future possibilities as well as a number of practical exercises for performance purposes.

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