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A Dramaturgy of Silence: Composing the Radio Play

Marshall Griffiths, Linda (2018) A Dramaturgy of Silence: Composing the Radio Play. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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My practice-led thesis, ‘A Dramaturgy of Silence: Composing the Radio Play’, develops the argument that the multiple processes of creating silence can become a central dramaturgical tool in the writing of radio plays – the dramaturgy essentially becoming silence. The practice component of the PhD consists of my two radio plays, Orpheus and Eurydice (2015) and The Sky is Wider (2016). Both navigate narrative journeys into and out of silence whilst experimenting with language breakage, the removal of the semantic and considering both the substance of silence and embodied silences within the radio play form. The chapter entitled ‘A Typology of Silence’, critically and creatively articulates the multiple silences that emerge as part of the practice. These include the notion of silence as punctuation, its realisation as both absence and presence, and its capacity to silence. I further investigate the silence of the body and how the internal voice of what I have called the ‘unsilence’ can be articulated. The typology does not exist purely as an academic text, but through its playful form explicates the actual process of making silences through playwriting. It recognises that to attempt to categorise and anatomise silence whose very substance is outside of language is impossible, the emergence of silence often exposing the holes in language and challenging its reliability. In the chapters ‘Composing the Underworld: Rhythmic Encounters and Excavating the Unutterable’ and ‘Silence and Sound interventions: The Presence and Absence of the Silent Body’, the creative process of the practice is considered critically through the lens of a Dramaturgy of Silence. This thesis argues that the use of silence as the principal dramaturgical tool continually relocates the radio play back into the immediacy of its sound environment, with silence ironically turning up the volume of the radio play and intensifying the acoustic experience. A Dramaturgy of Silence returns to the experimentations of Samuel Beckett’s theatre and radio-work, whilst advocating new thinking and experimentation within the radio play form. I draw on the creative work of Caryl Churchill and Virginia Woolf and reflect upon Maurice Blanchot’s and Gilles Deleuze’s philosophical writing around silence juxtaposed against Julia Kristeva’s embodied semiotics, to articulate the dramaturgical possibilities of silence in the radio play and my own creative work.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: The radio plays included in this thesis can be heard on Box of Broadcasts at https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand/
Keywords: silence composition radio play sound playwriting
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > University of York St. John
Depositing User: Dr Linda Marshall Griffiths
Date Deposited: 15 May 2019 09:45
Last Modified: 15 May 2019 09:45
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23524

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