FUN [DA] MENTAL [TEXT] ENCOUNTER
Monday 1st July
Tuesday 2nd July (6:30pm)
As you’re reading these words, do you hear your own voice? Someone else’s? What connections do those words conjure? Now think of the ways you encounter text: speaking, reading, writing, listening – often all at once. In a play, how do you manage to form meaning from the text? And in what ways? In performance, how many narratives are crashing against each other simultaneously, and can the text mean the same thing to you as it does to someone else? Who is the writer of this meaning?
As a U.S.-trained director, the author has loomed as a transcendent figure in my work. The play-text has been an outside authority, and my job as the director was to discover its meaning. But now I’m rethinking text as an assemblage of connections. Why must the play-text be the outside starting point? I’m finding ways of asking how meaning can be discovered from the text’s rhizomatic connections: director, actors, environment, audience.
There is a certain fixity and history that a famous 400-year-old play brings with it. My challenge is to find ways of fostering immanence in pe
rformance, even with a fixe
d play-text. Using text from The Merchant of Venice, FUN [DA] MENTAL [TEXT] ENCOUNTER employs projection, voiceover and audience input to consider the role of immanence in authorship and meaning. My project is to conceive of directorship as an intensive multiplicity of authorship. Using Shakespeare’s words, this encounter aims to re-frame the fixity of the text as an assemblage in flux: a rhizomatic, active creation.
I am a director and multidisciplinary theatre maker based in the UK and the US, and my work has brought me to three continents. In addition to directing classics and premieres for the stage, I’m also a non-profit leader, producer, teacher, designer, and writer. I was the associate director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., and for 12 years I ran the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.
After 25 years of making things happen, I'm taking a couple years to reboot my creative energies in an academic setting at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. You can read a lot more about me at jefhallflavin.com.