PRINCIPLES FOR THE USE OF STYLIZED MOVEMENT DURING THE INTERPRETATION AND PERFORMANCE OF LITERATURE BASED ON MARTHA GRAHAM'S USE OF CLASSICAL TRAGEDY IN MODERN DANCE.
AuthorCOREY, FREDERICK CHARLES.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe interpretation and performance of literature is a theatre art in which literary texts are transformed into staged productions. Novelists, poets, playwrights, and essayists use the symbols of written language to create an imagined world for their readers; interpretative performers present their audiences with this world through symbols of both speech and movement. Hence the interpretation and performance of literature incorporates a wide range of literary and performance theory. Unfortunately, little is known about how literary texts can be communicated through symbolic movement. The purpose of this study, then, is to propose principles of stylized movement which would be useful to the interpretative performer of literature. To develop these principles, Martha Graham's choreographic use of classical tragedy was investigated. Using a decriptive methodology based on Aristotle's elements of tragedy, four of Graham's ballets were analyzed in view of their literary sources: Cave of the Heart from Euripides' Medea, Night Journey from Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Clytemnestra from Aeschylus' The Oresteia, and Cortege of Eagles from Euripides' Hecuba and The Trojan Woman. As a result of this investigation, five principles emerged. Stated as descriptions of Graham's work, the principles are: (1) rhetoric shapes the form, (2) movement vocabularies are created, (3) synecdochical movement is expanded over time, (4) stage properties assume multiple meanings through movement, and (5) costumes expose movement and indicate character. By using these principles as guidelines, the interpretative performer may understand, create, and utilize stylized movement that communicates the ideas, images, and actions inherent in the text being staged.