University of Tasmania
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Revealing the taboo : a theatrical investigation

posted on 2023-05-26, 22:01 authored by Dobson, GP
The project, Revealing the Taboo: A Theatrical Investigation, is a study into theatre that attempts to break down the barriers between open society and its regulatory alternative, the area of taboos. Initial motivations for the project were drawn from my experience as a playwright, exploring themes such as paedophilia and child abuse. My previous work prompted the question, 'If taboos are revealed from a perspective that attempts to challenge the social norm, how might that affect the sensitivities of an audience?' The exegesis (the theoretical component of the project) presents an extensive exploration of the relationships taboos have with contemporary theatrical presentation. Through the exegesis I establish a contemporary definition for taboo in relation to the theatre, differentiating it from current trends such as Aleks Sierz's In-Yer-Face' theatre. Set against the theatrical context, I also examine taboo as a current social norm, incorporating both the sanctions and penalties attracted by those who deviate from that norm. The exegesis supports the key focus of the project, the examination and creation of theatre that reveals taboo behaviour from a challenging perspective, in the process jeopardising the very concept of social norms. This style of theatre questions the status of certain taboos by reducing the degree of deviance associated with participation in taboo behaviour. The project identifies and presents a genre, Theatre of Taboos, and the exegesis examines the construction and effectiveness of this hypothesised genre. Three areas are particularly examined: firstly, taboos and incorporation of taboos in the theatre; secondly, cultural boundaries, limitations and restrictions ‚ÄövÑvÆ sanctions and penalties; and thirdly, the construction and sensitivities of the contemporary theatrical audience. The creative component of the project consists of a script presented through theatrical performance, these complementing and giving life to the notions set out in the theoretical investigation. The script, Ruled Lines, is an attempt to show a positive perspective of a taboo relationship between a teacher and their student, revealing taboos from a perspective that raises awareness of and challenges perceptions of what might constitute socially-condoned behaviour.


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  • Unpublished

Rights statement

Copyright 2007 the author DVDs referred to in volume two are missing.

Repository Status

  • Open

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