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

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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
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.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Verbatim-fisiese teater bied die moontlikheid vir die stories van vroue, nie net te om vertel te word nie, maar om gehoor te word. Hierdie studie ondersoek hoe fisiese teater en verbatim teater saam gebruik kan word om etnografiese navorsing rakende gender performativity onder vrouestudente aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch uit te beeld. Die etnografiese gevallestudie is daarop gemik om vas te stel wat vroulike studente aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch se persepsie van vroulikheid is. Die studie ondersoek verbatimfisiese teater se potensiaal om hierdie etnografiese navorsing op 'n polities bewuste, opvoedkundige en toeganklike manier uit te beeld. In hierdie tesis word die moontlikheid van verbatim-fisiese teater as feministiese protesteater aangebied en die argument gemaak dat dit as 'n kragtige agent van sosiale verandering kan optree. Hierdeur ondersoek die studie verbatim-fisiese teater se potensiaal om, nie net etnografiese navorsing op 'n toeganklike en relevante manier uit te beeld nie, maar om die begin punt van sosiale verandering te wees deur op 'n aktiewe en betekenisvolle manier met mense se geleefde ervarings mee te gaan. Hierdie studie sluit af met die skepping en bespreking van 'n nuwe verbatim-fisiese teaterproduksie, What I was Told, wat as feministiese protesteater funksioneer en daarop gemik is om 'n eerlike en outentieke vertelling van navorsingsdeelnemers se verhale te gee.
Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2022.
Verbatim-physical theatre, Gender performativity, Feminist protest theatre, Radical theater, UCTD