The praxis of postcolonial intercultural theatre in Aotearoa New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Throughout history theatrical performance has been used both as a disseminator of dominant ideology and as a place for revolt. This study will investigate how theatre in Aotearoa New Zealand may play a role in the decolonization of postcolonial peoples. At the core of the dissertation is an engagement with theories of postcolonial and intercultural performance which are tested in a theatre laboratory experiment to see how these theories translate in practical terms to the stage. The work will investigate, through a semiotic analysis, what occurs in the process of rehearsal and direction in transforming the meanings of a text to the stage. The text used for the theatre laboratory experiment is Mervyn Thompson's Songs to the Judges. One aim of the production will be to juxtapose Māori and Pākehā performance forms in a syncretic theatre performance. During the process I will focus on questions such as, "on what terms can a Pākehā woman direct a play with a bicultural cast?" and "what are the (im)possibilities of an equal exchange of knowledge/experience between the Maori and Pākehā participants?" Whilst the performance highlights polarities of them and us, black and white, the aim of the rehearsal process and group dynamic is to move beyond this polarity operating under the philosophy of Barba's concept of 'Third Theatre’, For members of the third theatre, content and form are often less important than a group's socio-cultural philosophy and how that philosophy is realized in its daily work and reflected in its productions (Watson 1993: 21).