In William Labov’s (1967) six-part analysis, he draws attention to the process of evaluation as a key structural component of narrative. Evaluation refers to those parts of the narrative through which the narrator assigns significance to the events of the narration. In this paper, I analyse how this process of evaluation is both an element of the verbal account of the fictional world of the story and, crucially, an important feature of the performance, using examples from the work of writer and performer, Claire Dowie. Dowie has coined the term ‘stand-up theatre’ to describe her particular form of narrative drama in plays for the solo performer such as Adult Child/Dead Child (1987), Drag Act (1993)and Leaking from Every Orifice (1993). The paper compares and contrasts the performance of evaluation in her piece for a single actor Why is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt? (1990) and her two-hander, Death and Dancing (1992). The argument of the paper is that the physical presence of the performer has to be considered as a fundamental structural component of the narrative in performance. Moreover, the deployment by Dowie of the performer’s ‘vocabulary of gesture’ ensures that the ideological force of the work is carried in large part through this performance of physical evaluation.
|Title of host publication||Narrative in Drama. Contemporary Drama in English,|
|Editors||Merle Toennies, Christina Flotmann|
|Publisher||Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - Jun 2011|
Bibliographical noteReference text: Death and Dancing. By Claire Dowie. Dir. Colin Watkeys Perfs. Claire Dowie and Mark Pinkosh. Honolulu, Hawaii. 10 Jul. 1992.
Dowie, Claire. Why Is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt? and Other Stand-Up Theatre Plays. London: Methuen, 1996.
Why is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt? By Claire Dowie. Dir. Colin Watkeys Perf. Claire Dowie. Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. 14 Aug. 1994.
Althusser, Louis. “Ideology and ideological state apparatuses.” Lenin and Philosophy and other Essays. London: New Left Books, 1989. 170-86
Boal, Augusto. The Rainbow of Desire. The Boal Method of Theatre and Therapy. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
Cassell, Justine and David McNeill. “Gesture and the Poetics of Prose.” Narrative Across Media: The Languages of Storytelling. Ed. Marie-Laure Ryan. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2004. 108-137
Cassell, Justine, David McNeill, and Karl-Erik McCullough. “Speech-Gesture Mismatches: Evidence for the Underlying Representation of Linguistic and Non-Linguistic Information.” Pragmatics and Cognition 6.2 (1998): 1-24
Cortazzi, Martin. Narrative Analysis. London, Washington D.C.: The Falmer Press, 1993.
Double, Oliver. “Characterization in Stand-up Comedy: from Ted Ray to Billy Connolly, via Bertolt Brecht .” New Theatre Quarterly 16.4 (2000): 315-323.
Goffman, Erving. Forms of Talk. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.
Goldblatt, David. Art and Ventriloquism. Critical Commentary by Garry Hagberg. London and New York: Routledge, 2006.
Griffin, Gabriele. “Troubled Identities: Claire Dowie’s Why is John Lennon Wearing A Skirt?” Auto/biography and Identity. Eds. Maggie B. Gale, and Viv Gardner. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004. 153-177.
Gwyn, Richard. “ ‘Really Unreal’: Narrative Evaluation and the Objectification of Experience.” Narrative Inquiry 10.2 (2000): 313–340.
Labov, William. Language in the Inner City. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1972.
Labov, William and Joshua Waletzky. “Narrative analysis.” Essays on the Verbal and Visual Arts. Ed. June Helm. Seattle: U. of Washington Press, 1967. 12-44
Maguire, Tom. “Speaking Violence in Conor McPherson’s Rum and Vodka and The Good Thief.” The Performance of Violence in Contemporary Ireland. Ed. Lisa Fitzpatrick. Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2009. 105-118.
--- “Characterization in Storytelling Performance.” Worlds in Words: Storytelling in Contemporary Theatre and Playwriting. Eds. Mateusz Borowski and Małgorzata Sugiera. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars, 2010. 179-191.
Riessman, Catherine Kohler. Narrative Analysis. London: Sage, 1993.
Ryan, Marie-Laure (ed.) Narrative Across Media: The Languages of Storytelling. Lincoln, NE and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.
Sample, Colin. “Living Words: Physiognomy and Aesthetic Language.” The Incorporated Self: interdisciplinary perspectives on embodiment. Ed. Michael O’Donovan-Anderson. Lanham, MD: Rowan and Littlefield, 1996. 119-26.
Sontag, Susan. "Notes on Camp." Against Interpretation and Other Essays. London: Vintage, 2001: 275-292.
Wing, Joylynn. “The Iconicity of Absence: Dario Fo and the Radical Invisible.” Theatre Journal 45.3 (1993): 303-315.
- stand-up theatre
- Claire Dowie
- gesture in performance