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|Title:||Offer, Accept, Block, Yield: the poetics of open scene additive improvisation|
|Publisher:||Faculty of Education and Social Work|
School of Social Work
|Abstract:||This single case study examines the way that Johnstone’s (1981) Impro ‘Poetics’ are being used in the contemporary practice of Open Scene Additive Improvisation (OSAI). Johnstone’s Poetics have become a ubiquitous part of contemporary drama improvisation parlance, yet they have never themselves been the subject of any academic examination. This study attempts to fill that void by looking at their use in Open Scene Impro, the purest form of theatre improvisation (since OSAI relies on no structures other than the audience suggestion around which to improvise a ‘Scene’.) To do this, the research analysed seven OSAI Scenes performed by 3 undergraduate student improvisers at the University of Sydney in July 2003, and looked at the ways in which the actions that Johnstone’s Poetics describe are actually being used. Looking closely at Scene segments, the study identifies a number of features: the ways that Offers are used to initiate, re-initiate, confirm or redirect meaning across five identified fields; the ways that Accepts temper these meanings; the productive use of Blocking in a Scene; and many other functions. It was also found that in-Scene negotiations about definition of situation became a subtextually enmeshed part of the Scene’s meaning (often in Phases of improvisers’ conflicting Endowments), while the predictive and framing control of narrative-indexing Offers ensured that character roles became defined early on in all Scenes. Overall, the study’s analysis dissects each of the Poetics to show that improvisers use them for a number of major purposes crucial for the reality, forward-movement and coherence of a Scene to obtain. The study concludes by elucidating how the nine main Poetics (Offer, Endow, Justify, Advance, Extend, Reincorporate, Accept, Block and Yield) serve these purposes. These purposes are then abstracted into the TOE Model, which in turn forms the basis of a proposed dynamic and holistic model for understanding OSAI at each moment of its (re-)creation. The ultimate aim, beyond the reach of the present study, is to be able to understand an Open Scene’s every moment, and each moment’s reference historically backwards, and, to some degree, predictively forwards in time. To this end, the fundamental dynamic of contextualised giving and receiving in OSAI is morphed into a Taoist energetic model, a “Tao of Impro”, along with the notion, derived from Mandelbrot, of ‘cybernetic semantic iteration’, by which information seems to get processed in Open Scenes. The educational implications of these models are then sketched, and future directions for research in OSAI pointed to.|
|Description:||Master of Philosophy|
|Rights and Permissions:||The author retains copyright of this thesis.|
|Type of Work:||Masters Thesis|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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