The Dramaturgy of Spontaneity: Improvising the Social in Theater
This chapter investigates the relationship between the social and the aesthetic in the author’s own performance work. Taking the relationship between rehearsal and improvisation as a point of departure, the author argues that it is in the development of rules—acknowledged or implicit—that the conditions for apparently spontaneous moments of improvisation are created. Challenging the concept of performance as evading commodity status by operating in time and therefore being technically unrepeatable, the author sees rehearsal and repetition in theatrical practice as an attempt to defy the decaying fall of time. The author then looks at the place of improvisation within this drive to shore up time through practice. The author shows how understanding what might be termed “aesthetic” in the experience of performance is closely related to how the rules of engagement in theater sublimate its ever present sociality. This sublimation of sociality makes way for an aesthetics that is enabled to investigate the social without being reducible to it.