Masters Degrees (Drama)

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    A possible missing (or theorized) link between absurdities in the human psyche and in the Theatre of the Absurd, using fairy tales as a connecting vehicle
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Dell, Bianca; Van der Merwe, Schalk; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Drama.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research addresses whether there is a possible missing or theorised link between absurdities related to the human psyche (psychology) and the Theatre of the Absurd, with the fairy tale genre as a connecting vehicle between the two main theories. This research consists of both a theoretical and practical component, with the theoretical component relying primarily on literature studies. To determine this link, research was done in the disciplines of psychology (more specifically Jung’s stance on the psyche and psychoanalysis concerning specific mental disorders, which may be adhered to as absurdities concerning the psyche), philosophy (more specifically absurdism/existentialist philosophy), fairy tale literature, and theatre (more specifically the Theatre of the Absurd). The methodological approach used was research-based practice as gained from the iterative cyclic web of Smith and Deans (2009). This was used to aid in defining the possible link theoretically and adapting the theoretical insights into a practical production. The practical production was self-written and directed using the insights gained from the Theatre of the Absurd, and Jung’s stance on the psyche and psychoanalysis of mental disorders, with character inspiration obtained from popular Western fairy tales. An account of the practical exploration is given, along with addendums A and B which consist of the written text and photos from the live theatrical production. The results from both the theoretical and practical insights showcased connections in each field with the other as follows: Psychology and theatre have a connection of their own, further stemming into the specifics of this research, and psychoanalysis and the psyche link with the Theatre of the Absurd from a Jungian perspective. The aforementioned psychological principles link with fairy tales and fairy tales with the Theatre of the Absurd. Fairy tales as a vehicle of discussion are universal and their archetypes, symbolism, morality, collective understanding and cognitive inclusions are what allowed for a deeper exploration into linking the two main fields. A possible link was defined between absurdities as related to the psyche and the Theatre of the Absurd, however, the real truth in the link lies in mankind itself, yet it is also established that truth is always deceiving and perspective-dependent.
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    South Africa's celluloid closet : the reproduction of Hollywood LGBTQ+ stereotypes and tropes in South African films
    (2022-12) Erasmus, Mone; Pieterse, Annel; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Drama.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The recurring stereotypes and tropes that arise in films depicting LGBTQ+ characters have negative impacts on how LGBTQ+ people see themselves, each other, and how other people see them. These depictions also promote homophobic myths and heteronormative ideologies. This dissertation provides a comprehensive exploration of Hollywood’s LGBTQ+ stereotypes and tropes and examines how these are reproduced in South African films. Therefore, the methodology consists of a qualitative semiotic analysis of LGBTQ+ representations to determine the value of, and meanings behind these depictions. The primary films consist of five South African queer-films that were released in the last decade, namely: Oliver Hermanus’s Skoonheid (2011), John Trengove’s Inxeba (2017), Christiaan Olwagen’s Kanarie (2018), Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki (2018), and Oliver Hermanus’s Moffie (2019). These films are evaluated according to five criteria to determine whether they constitute fair LGBTQ+ representations. My criteria state that a film’s LGBTQ+ character(s) must be explicitly queer, not conform to most stereotypes or tropes, be complex and experience growth, not be a token character, and not embody the Other. Most of Hollywood’s mainstream films fail to meet these criteria and depict LGBTQ+ characters in line with outdated practices. Similarly, South Africa’s films also fail to meet the criteria – with single exceptions – and perpetuate regressive myths about LGBTQ+ people. Although the five primary queer-films offer more complex LGBTQ+ representations, many employ harmful tropes that vilify or Other LGBTQ+ people. Notably, Kanarie and Rafiki subvert the more harmful tropes, pointing to the possibility of better future LGBTQ+ representations in South African films. These findings indicate a need for new types of queer-films and LGBTQ+ depictions in Hollywood and South African films, and problematise the ways in which LGBTQ+ stereotypes and tropes are discussed in academia. Moreover, the findings support existing theories on how identities and meanings are constructed and distributed. Finally, this dissertation serves as a call for, and template of, further research into transgender- and bisexual-specific stereotypes in mainstream films.
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    What I was told : investigating how verbatim- and physical theatre can be combined to portray ethnographic research of gender performativity under female students at Stellenbosch University
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-03) Baard, Helena; Gerber, Andre Kruger; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Drama.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Verbatim-physical theatre presents the possibility for women’s stories, not only to be told, but to be heard, interacted and engaged with. This study investigates how verbatim- and physical theatre can be used in conjunction with one another to portray ethnographic research of gender performativity conducted under female students at Stellenbosch University. The ethnographic case study is aimed at identifying what female students’ at Stellenbosch University perception of femininity is and examines what it means for them, to be a woman. The study subsequently explores verbatim-physical theatre’s potential to portray this ethnographic research in a manner that is politically conscious, educational and accessible through embodied, liminal performance. The study explores notions of reclaiming agency through the telling of women’s personal stories, that would otherwise not be heard and legitimizing previously silenced narratives, as well as actively taking up space and moving past the boundaries and limits placed on women’s bodies. Through this, the study examines verbatim-physical theatre’s potential to function as feminist protest theatre, suggesting that it can become a powerful agent of social change. The argument is made that verbatim-physical theatre, not only offers a means of presenting ethnographic research in an accessible and relatable way, but also protests for social change by engaging with people’s lived experiences in an active and meaningful manner. This study concludes with the creation and discussion of a new verbatim-physical theatre production, What I was Told, that functions as feminist protest theatre and is aimed at giving a truthful and authentic account of those stories told by research participants.
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    Randfigure as middels vir sosiale kommentaar in enkele werke van Pieter-Dirk Uys en Nataniel
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-03) Van Eeden, Marguerite; Du Preez, Petrus; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Drama.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study investigates Pieter-Dirk Uys and Nataniël as two theatre practitioners that used characteristics of satire, cabaret, and the creation of marginalised characters to deliver social and political commentary on apartheid. Satire, comedy, and certain characteristics of cabaret are used as a point of departure for the theoretical framework of this study to further analyse four specific plays created by Pieter-Dirk Uys and Nataniël. Farce About Uys and Adapt or Dye are discussed with regards to Pieter-Dirk Uys’s use of satire, cabaret, and the creation of marginalised characters to protest apartheid. A discussion of Nataniëls plays, Dancing with John and White Soul, are discussed with reference to Nataniël’s use of satire, cabaret, and the creation of marginalised characters to protest apartheid. The thesis concludes that both PieterDirk Uys and Nataniël used satire and cabaret to protest apartheid and further that in each of the four aforementioned plays both Pieter-Dirk Uys and Nataniël created marginalised characters to protest social and political issues during apartheid.
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    Filled nothingness : hearing silence onstage
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2020-03) Wiggill, Caitlin Alice; Pretorius, Mareli Hattingh; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Drama.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to address the question of how silence can be defined and applied as a communicative device in theatre. The study consists of a theoretical and a practical component. The theoretical component relies primarily on a literature study. I firstly provide a theoretical framework by discussing the role and place of silence within verbal and nonverbal communication, with specific reference to the theatre. As a result silence is framed as relational to space and is defined as the absence of words/language, rather than the absence of sound, acknowledging the impossibility of pure silence. The performance of John Cage’s composition 4’33” is discussed as an example of silence in performance, highlighting the role of environmental sound within silence. The literature study, secondly, focusses on an investigation of Samuel Beckett and Robert Wilson’s approaches to theatre, with specific reference to their respective use of silence, and identifying possible methods employed within their praxis. Within my analysis of Beckett’s plays Breath and Not I, I identified the methods of textual scoring and formalized periodicity. In my analysis of Wilson’s Deafman Glance and Einstein on the Beach, I identified the methods of reiteration and Wilsonian Time. The practical component employs an exploratory research methodology within a practice-led approach to implement the identified methods within my own work as director. Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis was selected as text for my practical exploration. I provide background on the work of Kane, and 4.48 Psychosis, discussing the ways in which silence features in the text. An account of the practical exploration is given, detailing my two phase rehearsal process with a cast consisting of four female performers. This included the development of exploratory exercises and the application of Beckett and Wilson’s methods. During the rehearsal process is became clear that a combination of methods is possible, with the definition of silence extending to multiple levels, including visual, auditory, and psychological/emotional. In understanding silence in a contextual sense, the relationship between different aspects of theatre (particularly that of silence and space) was explored in the production. The communicative value of silence was found to be similar to that of spoken language in terms of conveying emotion and relationship. I also found that silence may be indirectly curated through the active handling of another aspect of performance such as rhythm, movement or sound itself.