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A Landscape called not and now : performing selected scenes from a play by Gertrude Stein Arvidson, Heather

Abstract

This report develops an interpretation of Gertrude Stein's theory that plays could be landscapes rather than narratives, and describes the project of producing part of Stein's "A Play Called Not and Now" as a landscape play. Over the course of a two-week workshop and a final performance on June 2, 2005 at UBC's Telus Studio Theatre, I directed a team of actors in an adaptation of scenes from the play. Informed by her theory, this collaborative project provided the opportunity to concretely work through Stein's idea of what was, in her time, a radically new kind of theatre. The staging was based on physical theatre exercises inspired loosely by Anne Bogart's Viewpoints. These provided a method for realizing Stein's sketch of a spatial theatre in which spectators can remain continuously present to the sounds, sights, lights and presences that surround them. The ensemble's movement and dynamic relationships created a physical landscape to fill the basic, elliptical structure of a play that Stein scripted in "A Play Called Not and Now." In this way, we took up Stein's invitation to collaboratively animate her script and pose it in relation to a physical composition, elucidating both text and theory in the process.

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