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Representations of Alzheimer’s Disease in Theatrical Contexts: Examining theatrical representations of Alzheimer’s disease and the use of space within the play world and the performance space.

Newman, Nicholas (2018) Representations of Alzheimer’s Disease in Theatrical Contexts: Examining theatrical representations of Alzheimer’s disease and the use of space within the play world and the performance space. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis examines instances of theatrical representations of Alzheimer’s disease as seen in British theatre. The essay concentrates upon exploring the relationship between representations of characters with Alzheimer’s disease, as written by playwrights and subsequently portrayed by actors, and the use of space as a means to investigate such representations. The aim of this analysis is to argue against the concept of a representative depiction of Alzheimer’s disease within performance contexts, as suggested by Wash Westmoreland (2015). British theatre must not only continue to raise awareness as to the impact of Alzheimer’s; in addition, it must further the understanding of how an individual’s sense of identity and experience of the human condition is impacted upon by the forces of illness. The construction of space and meaning derived from its manipulation are presented as a framework through which to begin to communicate the experiences of others in a tangible manner. Furthermore, the analysis of space – rather than solely the individual – is seen as an attempt to remove the possibility of engendering a diagnostic gaze between the actor and spectator. The methodology used to analyse the construction of space, in both the play world and performance space, is taken from Anna Harpin (2014). Harpin suggests that individuals’ experiences of madness may be likened to geographical encounters, rendering madness as site, or moreover, non-site. Harpin’s concept is then linked with Victor Turner’s analysis of liminality in order to fully explore the detailing of characters’ experiences of Alzheimer’s disease. In the final section of the essay, the theory explored in the first section is then developed and expanded upon, in order to practically observe its effects in facilitation of the actor’s characterisation of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. This is a part of a critical self-reflection of my own practice as research.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Academic Units: The University of York > Theatre, Film & Television (York)
Depositing User: Mr Nicholas Newman
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2019 13:45
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2019 13:45
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23779

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