Not Magic But Work: An Ethnographic Account of a Rehearsal Process

by Gay McAuley

Manchester University Press | May 31, 2012 | Hardcover

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This book is a detailed description of the intensive work process involved in the making of Toy Symphony, a new play by Michael Gow, directed by Neil Armfield and brought to the stage for the first time in December 2007 by Company B at the Belvoir Street Theatre in Sydney. Drawing on many years of pioneering research into the nature of contemporary rehearsal practice, Gay McAuley rejects simplistic notions of playwright or director as ''auteur''. Her account makes possible a more nuanced understanding of the real artistry involved in what it is that the director does and what the playwright contributes to the process, as well as facilitating a deeper appreciation of the profoundly collaborative nature of theatrical creation. The book is in two parts. The first describes the work process and the complex relations between participants noted by McAuley during her intensive observation of the rehearsal period and intermittent presence throughout the run of the production. Heavily indebted to contemporary ethnographic practice, this description is concerned not only with the aesthetic choices involved in the creation of a work of art but also with the institutional, social and cultural contexts within which the work process is embedded. The second part consists of a number of essays reflecting on aspects of the work observed, and providing a theoretical framework for deeper understanding of the rehearsal practices described. McAuley concludes that contemporary theatre constitutes a highly effective model of group creativity that could be applied in many different institutional contexts.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 256 pages, 8 × 5 × 1 in

Published: May 31, 2012

Publisher: Manchester University Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0719085438

ISBN - 13: 9780719085437

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– More About This Product –

Not Magic But Work: An Ethnographic Account of a Rehearsal Process

by Gay McAuley

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 256 pages, 8 × 5 × 1 in

Published: May 31, 2012

Publisher: Manchester University Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0719085438

ISBN - 13: 9780719085437

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Writing About Rehearsal - Some Preliminary Observations Part One: The Toy Symphony Rehearsals Company List The Starting Point - Michael's Text The First Day Establishing the Chronology (Day 2) Stop/Start Reading (Days 2-4) Scene Work (Days 4-14) The Sign Systems Come Together (Days 15-19) Runs and Notes (Days 20-27) Creating The Play Technical Production - a Parallel Universe In the Theatre At Last (Days 28-35) Part Two: Reflections After the Event Fact and Fiction and the Space Between Neil's Play, Michael's Play and Richard's Play The Director's Process Rehearsal and Interaction Ritual Works Cited

From the Publisher

This book is a detailed description of the intensive work process involved in the making of Toy Symphony, a new play by Michael Gow, directed by Neil Armfield and brought to the stage for the first time in December 2007 by Company B at the Belvoir Street Theatre in Sydney. Drawing on many years of pioneering research into the nature of contemporary rehearsal practice, Gay McAuley rejects simplistic notions of playwright or director as ''auteur''. Her account makes possible a more nuanced understanding of the real artistry involved in what it is that the director does and what the playwright contributes to the process, as well as facilitating a deeper appreciation of the profoundly collaborative nature of theatrical creation. The book is in two parts. The first describes the work process and the complex relations between participants noted by McAuley during her intensive observation of the rehearsal period and intermittent presence throughout the run of the production. Heavily indebted to contemporary ethnographic practice, this description is concerned not only with the aesthetic choices involved in the creation of a work of art but also with the institutional, social and cultural contexts within which the work process is embedded. The second part consists of a number of essays reflecting on aspects of the work observed, and providing a theoretical framework for deeper understanding of the rehearsal practices described. McAuley concludes that contemporary theatre constitutes a highly effective model of group creativity that could be applied in many different institutional contexts.

About the Author

Gay McAuley is Honorary Professor in the Department of Performance Studies at the University of Sydney.

Editorial Reviews

''A welcome contribution to the field'' P. Solomon Lennox, Studies in Theatre and Performance, 2013
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