Mapping the performative geography of a latter day ‘happening’

Davies, Paul (2012). Mapping the performative geography of a latter day ‘happening’. In: Bree Hadley and Caroline Heim, Compass Points: The Locations, Landscapes and Coordinates of Identities in Contemporary Performance Making, Australasian Association for Drama Theatre & Performance Studies (ADSA) 2012 Conference Proceedings. Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies (ADSA) 2012, Brisbane, Australia, (). 3-6 July 2012.

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Author Davies, Paul
Title of paper Mapping the performative geography of a latter day ‘happening’
Conference name Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies (ADSA) 2012
Conference location Brisbane, Australia
Conference dates 3-6 July 2012
Proceedings title Compass Points: The Locations, Landscapes and Coordinates of Identities in Contemporary Performance Making, Australasian Association for Drama Theatre & Performance Studies (ADSA) 2012 Conference Proceedings
Place of Publication Brisbane, Australia
Publisher Queensland University of Technology
Publication Year 2012
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 9781921897221
Editor Bree Hadley
Caroline Heim
Total pages 11
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
On the 26th of November 2009, outside the Brisbane Convention Centre, an intercalation of three distinct social spaces took place: a ‘real demonstration’, a ‘mock press conference’ and the ‘annual general meeting’ of one of the world’s largest mining companies. This paper examines the creation and management of performance space in that ‘mock press conference’. Sir Don v. The Ratpack was
a form of contemporary agit-prop theatre, effectively a atter day ‘Happening’, produced by Mullumbimby’s Gorilla Street Theatre (GST) troupe to highlight the huge expansion of uranium mining about to take place at Roxby Downs in South Australia. I argue that the ‘energy’ embodied in Sir Don’s polarised contest between actor/journalists seeking answers on the one hand and the pretend company chairman denying everything on the other, creates a commonly understood space of performance: the door stop press conference – effectively a mobile heterotopia. As with much site-specific practice, Sir Don is authentic, transgressive and permeable, unlocking new ways of experiencing a performance and new orders of relationship between actor/participants and spectator/onlookers. It is brought into being and sustained as an integral space simply by pointing cameras and microphones towards a concentrated spot (the subject – Sir Don) and asking him questions. It also unfolds in real time, and like the democratic circle around a fight, the shape of its formation of spectatorship (and participation) can bend and extend, thicken and reform. Sir Don even manages to insert itself into the heterotopia of BHP’s AGM. Equally, it draws in the social space of the nearby “International Convergence” a real/traditional demonstration otherwise kept at a distance by the strong police presence. Thus, this latter day Happening deploys itself as a third, liminal performative space which mediates the divide between both places of antagonism: company and protesters – effectively bringing itself, as part of the larger demonstration, into the realm of the exclusive corporate gathering.
Keyword Site-specific performance
Location plays
Heterotopia
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
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