'Disintegration, focalisation and the politics of mega-identity in the performances of Marie Jones’s "A Night in November" and Anna Deavere Smith's "Let Me Down Easy"’

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

In this paper, I explore how the figures of the storyworld can be presented, by examining the performance strategies in Anna Deavere Smith's "Lay Me Down Easy" and in Marie Jones’s "Stones in his Pockets". As Birch observes, ‘Through verbal and nonverbal clues, effective storytellers bring out the nuances, both large and small, which delineate the characters within the story ’ (1996: 119). Such strategies of characterisation are fundamentally metonymic in storytelling. However, the choice of specific details to depict a character may draw on characteristics associated with specific social groups, invoking issues of identity and power. The sense in which characterisation is then dependent not just on the performance strategies but on the ways in which these are read by the spectator becomes an important issue in understanding what is at stake when a teller represents someone from a group other than her own.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
EventInternational Society for the Study of Narrative Annual Conference, - Manchester Metropolitan University
Duration: 1 Jun 2013 → …

Conference

ConferenceInternational Society for the Study of Narrative Annual Conference,
Period1/06/13 → …

Fingerprint

Disintegration
Night
Focalization
Social Groups
Storytelling
Lay
Spectator
Storyteller

Keywords

  • narrative
  • storytelling theatre
  • contemporary performance

Cite this

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title = "'Disintegration, focalisation and the politics of mega-identity in the performances of Marie Jones’s {"}A Night in November{"} and Anna Deavere Smith's {"}Let Me Down Easy{"}’",
abstract = "In this paper, I explore how the figures of the storyworld can be presented, by examining the performance strategies in Anna Deavere Smith's {"}Lay Me Down Easy{"} and in Marie Jones’s {"}Stones in his Pockets{"}. As Birch observes, ‘Through verbal and nonverbal clues, effective storytellers bring out the nuances, both large and small, which delineate the characters within the story ’ (1996: 119). Such strategies of characterisation are fundamentally metonymic in storytelling. However, the choice of specific details to depict a character may draw on characteristics associated with specific social groups, invoking issues of identity and power. The sense in which characterisation is then dependent not just on the performance strategies but on the ways in which these are read by the spectator becomes an important issue in understanding what is at stake when a teller represents someone from a group other than her own.",
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note = "This was one of three papers in a panel convened by Tom Maguire on Character and Identity in Contemporary Narrative Performance Practice. The other papers were given by a) Tracey Erin Smith (Ryerson College, Toronto): ‘ “Come as you aren’t”: Cross-playing and characterisation in solo performance practice.’ and b) Magdalena Weiglhofer (doctoral student University of Ulster): ‘What is my story and who am I without a story?’: uncertainties of identity in performed autobiographical storytelling",
year = "2013",
month = "6",
language = "English",
booktitle = "Unknown Host Publication",

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'Disintegration, focalisation and the politics of mega-identity in the performances of Marie Jones’s "A Night in November" and Anna Deavere Smith's "Let Me Down Easy"’. / Maguire, Tom.

Unknown Host Publication. 2013.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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AB - In this paper, I explore how the figures of the storyworld can be presented, by examining the performance strategies in Anna Deavere Smith's "Lay Me Down Easy" and in Marie Jones’s "Stones in his Pockets". As Birch observes, ‘Through verbal and nonverbal clues, effective storytellers bring out the nuances, both large and small, which delineate the characters within the story ’ (1996: 119). Such strategies of characterisation are fundamentally metonymic in storytelling. However, the choice of specific details to depict a character may draw on characteristics associated with specific social groups, invoking issues of identity and power. The sense in which characterisation is then dependent not just on the performance strategies but on the ways in which these are read by the spectator becomes an important issue in understanding what is at stake when a teller represents someone from a group other than her own.

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