Contemporary Australian Gothic theatre sound
AuthorO'Neil, Miles Henry
AffiliationSchool of Performing Arts
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2020-06-05.
© 2018 Dr. Miles Henry O'Neil
This practice-based research analyses the significance of sonic dramaturgies in the development and proliferation of contemporary Australian Gothic theatre. Taking an acoustemological approach, I consider the dramaturgical role of sound and argue that it is imperative to the construction and understanding of contemporary Gothic theatre and that academic criticism is emergent in its understanding. By analysing companies and practitioners of contemporary Australian Gothic theatre, I identify and articulate their innovative contributions towards what has been called “the Sonic Turn”. My case studies include Black Lung Theatre and Whaling Firm and practitioner Tamara Saulwick. I argue that the state of Victoria has a particular place in the development of contemporary Gothic theatre and highlight the importance of the influences of Gothic Rock, rock band aesthetics, Nick Cave, and the Gothic myths and legends and specific landscapes of Victoria. I identify dramaturgical languages that describe the function of sound in the work of these practitioners and the crucial emergence of sound as a dominant affective device and its use in representing imagined landscapes of post-colonial Australia. I also analyse sound in relation to concepts of horror and trauma. I position my practice and my work as co-artistic director of the Suitcase Royale within the Sonic Turn and in relation to other Gothic theatre companies and practitioners. Drawing on theories of spectrality and presence, I formulate a theoretical language of the Sonic Gothic as it relates to contemporary Australian theatre. I contend that contemporary Australian Gothic theatre is culturally unique in its preoccupation with sound and that sonic experiments in the Gothic are creating new understandings of the use of sound in theatre. My creative work, a soundscape for theatre entitled Disappearing into Darkness, is submitted as a high-quality Mp3 file accompanying the written dissertation. It was created as an alternative text and will be used as the foundational material for the development of a new work of Australian Gothic dance theatre.
Keywordstheatre; Gothic; sound
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