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Artistic Syntheses: A Kinesic Approach to Beckett's Plays in the Context of Modernism

Author Nicholas WEEKS
Director of thesis Prof. Guillemette Bolens
Co-director of thesis Dr. Martin Leer
Summary of thesis

Located at the interface of text, aesthetics and performance, this thesis aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of a set of theatre plays by Samuel Beckett symptomatic of some artistic trends of 20th century modernism. The analysis shall consider all aspects of the productions and shall be based on a corpus composed of the texts of the plays in question, the production notes of the author and several directors, the correspondence of the author with the latter, the video capture of performances as well as reviews of the performances. The kinesic approach (i.e. gestural analysis) shall be specifically useful to clarify the dialectic between the intentional dynamic variations underlying the actors' gestures and the semiotic potential of their actions. Three contemporary artists will be discussed (Peter Brook, Robert Wilson, and Atom Egoyan) and their staging dissected in order to highlight the kinesic and aesthetic manoeuvres being negotiated while rigorously following the text. I argue that it is precisely at the crossroad of text, author's vision, stage director's vision and actor's gestures that lie possibilities of new and divergent "artistic syntheses", allowing us, in return, to better understand the distinctive elements that characterise Beckett's scenic universe.

Administrative delay for the defence