Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies Theses and Dissertations

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    (2023) Williams, Mark; Mezzocchi, Jared M; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Creative System Integration is the process of assembling systems of technology for design that supports the creative needs of a performance. In these writings, I document and reflect on the steps my collaborators and I took in two productions, “DanceXDance” and “The Late Wedding”. I examine the processes and performance objectives of these two shows with attention to how technology and the medium of media was utilized, and the advantages or limitations it presented. I explore how new technology can be leveraged to create new collaborative workspaces, new methodologies, subvert expectations about media, and improve creative agency, all while meeting the unique narrative and mediaturgical needs of each production.
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    The White Arm in the Smoke: The Meaning of Theatrical Violence on the Victorian Stage
    (2023) Kaleba, Casey Dean; Hildy, Franklin J; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This PhD dissertation examines Victorian theatrical combat on the London stage to place it in both historical and cultural context. By first establishing a possible dance-based origin for stage combat, the paper explores the overlapping modes of practice in different forms of popular and elite entertainments in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as they influenced the development of historically inspired movement. Using archival documents, literary analysis of stage fights, physical culture and gender studies, the study aims to contribute original research to the field of stage combat history and propose new theoretic lenses with which to examine historical practice. The paper discusses the relationship between dueling as cultural habit and representations in dramatic literature, as well as the influence of changing patterns in physical culture. Finally, this dissertation examines the role of spectacle theatre and acting theory in the development of new Modernist ideas of representing sword fights on stage.
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    (2023) Villanueva, Carlo Antonio Ortega; Keefe, Maura; Dance; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Last Dance, Lost Dance is a 30-minute interdisciplinary performance piece that explores the concept of indeterminacy in performance. Indeterminacy—the phenomenon of a performer making decisions during performance—is a reifying analytical perspective from which dance improvisation can be seen, applied, and understood. Instinctively directed and choreographed by Carlo Antonio Ortega Villanueva, Last Dance, Lost Dance resists the fixity of choreographic form in pursuit of relational, responsive collaborations in performance strategy and (interdisciplinarily) with theater design. To do so, Last Dance, Lost Dance reschedules choreography to include the moment of performance, through the use of improvisational strategies; and reconfigures choreography to include the design and movement of mise en scène. As a result, Last Dance, Lost Dance commands the full apparatus of the theater despite its imposed rubrics for form, beauty, and aesthetic; and its choreography emerges in real time, authored live by its performers. These experimental modes of choreography ask and dance the question: “What is the relationship between form and possibility?” This document, “Last Dance, Lost Dance: Strategizing Indeterminacy Toward Live and Emergent Choreographies,” supports and contextualizes Last Dance, Lost Dance with discussions of dance and the archive, Asian American postmodern performance, and photographic and narrative documentation of the creative research, development, and critical reflections of Last Dance, Lost Dance; it is accompanied by an archival video of the performance.
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    The Songs of Her Possibilities: Black Women-Authored Musicals from the Nineteenth Century to the Present
    (2023) Ealey, Jordan Alexandria; Chatard Carpenter, Faedra; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The Songs of Her Possibilities: Black Women Authored Musicals from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, examines Pauline Hopkins, Zora Neale Hurston, Vinnette Carroll, Micki Grant, and Kirsten Childs as black women creators of music theatre and their use of the form for social, political, and creative interventions. In so doing, I argue that these creators employ the form of the musical as a site for black feminist intellectual production through dramaturgical strategies in playwriting, composition, and direction. My project is animated by these major questions: How do Hopkins, Hurston, Grant, Carroll, and Childs employ the form of the musical to significant sociopolitical ends? How do their respective musicals creatively shape how musical theatre is researched, taught, and circulated? And finally, how do the black women creators at the center of this study reject, remake, and revise musical forms to challenge, critique, and change the overdetermined boundaries of the artistry and scholarship of musical theatre?In musical theatre, there is often an adherence to a strict dramaturgy of integration; that is, the dialogue, music, choreography, and other elements of a given musical must be perfectly uniformed. Black women musical theatre creators, however, are not bound to this dramaturgy and challenge it. I contend that this is accomplished through what I call strategic dissonance—a black feminist dramaturgical strategy that makes use of disintegrated and disjointed elements as an artistic method. This method is drawn from their material realities as black women (and the multidirectional nature of navigating black womanhood) to reflect the realities of black life and propose new ways of living. The project uses a significant amount of research from different archival sites such as the Library of Congress, Fisk University, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Currently, no manuscript exists that explores and examines this under-theorized and under-documented history; thus, my project intervenes in the invisibilization of these musicals from the historical narrative of American musical theatre. Therefore, The Songs of Her Possibilities simultaneously argues for the significance of black women’s musical theatre for black feminist worldmaking capabilities.
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    (2022) Taylor, Zavier Augustus Lee; Mezzocchi, Jared M; Theatre; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Title of Thesis:Thesis Directed By: ABSTRACT STICK FLY: A DISSECTION OF PROCESS AND EXPLORATION OF ADVOCACY Zavier Augustus Lee Taylor, Master of Fine Arts, 2022 Professor Jared Mezzocchi, Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies The following thesis is a series of observations and explorations documenting my experiences as Media and Projections Designer of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at The University of Maryland College Park’s production of Stick Fly by Lydia R. Diamond. The production opened on April 15th, 2022 as a live performance in the Kogod Theatre. Stick Fly was performed in a black box theater space with direction by Kenyatta Rogers, Scenic Design by Abigail Bueti, Associate Scenic Design by Mollie Singer, co-sound design by Neil McFadden and Gordon Nimmo-Smith, lighting design by Christian Henrriquez, and costume design by Ashlynne Ludwig.