Narration and Dialogue in Contemporary British and German-language Drama (texts – Translations – mise-en-scène)
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I am negotiating a publication of the thesis.
The aim of this thesis is to undertake a comparative study of contemporary British and German-language playwriting, with an eye specifically towards possible reasons and solutions for the problematic situation of German-language playtexts in Britain. I will first conduct a stylistic analysis of a selection of British and German-language playwrights, focusing on the differences in representation of interiority through dialogue and narration. I will then introduce a phenomenological lens that will expand this literary analysis by looking at specific stagings of these texts, and at the use of gestures in particular. Tracing the performative implications of dialogue and narration in their relationship with gestures, I will suggest that while dialogue mostly requires metonymical gestures, the phenomenology of narration is better served by a more metaphoric use. This is followed by a chapter on translation, which will look at the specific problems and chances posed by narration and so-called ‘postdramatic’ plays in general. After these theoretical considerations, I will scrutinise my findings in a practical environment in two major steps. The first step is a comparative rehearsal observation of one German and one British director and their work with contemporary playtexts. My main question will be in how far the tendency towards dialogue in British plays and towards narration in German-language plays is matched by corresponding trends in the directors’ formal language. Furthermore, I will contextualise the work of these two directors in the larger field of directing in their respective countries. The second and final step of my practical investigation will be an implementation and testing of the previous theses in two directing projects of my own. I will again focus on rehearsal methodologies, attempting to find out which methodologies are particularly useful for the rehearsal of narrative playtexts and thereby hoping to formulate some first ideas for the specific requirements of German-language playtexts in a British context.
University of Exeter
Roesner, David Dr.
PhD in Drama