PERF07031 2019 Directing 3 - postmodern theatre

General Details

Full Title
Directing 3 - postmodern theatre
Transcript Title
Directing 3 - postmodern theat
80 %
Subject Area
PERF - 0215 Performing Arts
YADA - Yeats Academy Art Dsgn & Arch
07 - Level 7
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Tom Weir, Una Mannion, Declan Drohan, Niall Colleary, Rhona Trench, Bernie Meehan, Niall Rea
Programme Membership
SG_APERF_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Performing Arts SG_APERA_B07 201900 Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts (Acting) SG_APERT_B07 201900 Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts (Theatre Design) SG_ADESI_H08 202500 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Design for Stage and Screen

Directing 3 explores postmodern theatre directing, bringing together critical theory and contemporary theatre practice to provide valuable tools for directing in today's expansive performance world. Postmodern theatre places new and novel demands on stage directors. It is more experimental, and the boundaries of what constitutes a performance have shifted. Dialogue is no longer always the primary mode of communication, and music, sound, movement, and other visual elements will be explored as ways to make meaning onstage. Learners will develop skills across relevant creative disciplines and inter-disciplinary practices in a highly collaborative environment. Using visual and cultural research, demonstrations and presentations, learners will reflect on a variety of approaches to the development of theatre by key practitioners and dominant forces, including e.g. Meyerhold, Brecht, Beckett, Artaud, Wilson, Foreman, Mitchell and others.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Learners will have an understanding of the dominant forces of theory and practice in the development of theatre in a postmodern world



Learners will explore the interchange between performance and e.g. visual art, movement, theatre, writing, sound, multi-media and so on, in a collaborative environment.


Learners will have an understanding of the dynamics of space and how spacial principles inform all aspects of postmodern performance. 


Learners will examine various sign-systems that can be manipulated by directors to bring about 'meaningful' communication in a postmodern context.


Learners will know the process of transforming a playscript or concept into a living postmodern performance. 

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Practice-based learning in a black box space with lighting, sound, projector, costume and props etc.

The subject must be taught with a director, designer and acting practitioner in the learning environment.

Module Assessment Strategies

Practice based assessment - two in class assessments - concept realisation - 25% and 25%

Log book - tracking the learning process - 30%

Continuous Assessment - present in class/ research shown in class contribution/scene realisation - 20%

Repeat Assessments

Repeat attend

Indicative Syllabus

Theoretical informed practice: Learners will explore the dominant forces in theatre history, theories of directing, and directors who might be termed postmodern, in an effort to demonstrate a more hybrid and multi-modal textual practice, to a more postmodern stage. Learners will aim to rediscover texts and concepts in new ways. 

Learners will explore the relevant movements and practitioners in twentieth century philosophy, theatrical practices and theatre companies in order to examine: collaboration; roles of creative disciplines; traditional/contemporary approaches; vocabulary; exploration; realisation.

Philosophers, practitioners and theatre companies might include Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard, Frederic Jameson, Heiner Muller, Richard Foreman Robert Wilson, Katie Mitchell,  Forced Entertainment, Punch Drunk, Anu, and Complicite.

The spacial and visual principles involved in the realisation of a text or concept, the role of the audience, the use of multi-media, the relationship between the performer and character will be explored. 

Additionally, learners will examine questions about what it is that has shaped performance practices today? How has interdisciplinary: theatre/art; theatre /music; theatre/film, theatre/writing etc. lighting; digital media changed how we think about performance. 


Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Practice-based assessment x 2 (25% and 25%) Practical Assessment 50 % OnGoing 1,3,5
2 CA - Log Book Coursework Assessment Assessment 30 % End of Semester 2,3
3 Continuous Assessment Coursework Assessment Assessment 20 % OnGoing 1,3,4,5

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
1994 Directing Postmodern Theater University of Michigan Press
ISBN 0472065572 ISBN-13 9780472065578

An introduction to theatrical directing using the concepts and terminology of semiotic theory

Required Reading
2009 The Director's Craft
ISBN 0415404398 ISBN-13 9780415404396

This text presents a practical guide to directing in theatre. The author provides a beginner's guide to the process, with specific advice on every aspect of working with actors, designers, and the text.

Required Reading
Theatre Craft: A Director's Practical Companion from A to Z Faber and Faber

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Adorno, T. Aesthetic Theory. Edited by G. Adorno and R. Tiedemann. Trans. C. Lenhardt. London: Routledge, 1984.
 _________. The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. Edited by J. Bernstein. London: Routledge, 1991.
Bate, D. “After Postmodernism?” Lensculture. 2005. Online journal. Available at
Bauman, Z. Postmodern Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1993.

Bennett, S. Theatre Audiences: A Theory of Production and Reception, London:Routledge, 1990.

Best, S & Kellner, D. Postmodern Theory. NY: Guilford Publications, 1991.

Boal, A. Games for Actors and Non-Actors. London: Routledge, 1992
_____. Legislative Theatre. London: Routledge, 1998.
_______. Theatre of the Oppressed. London: Pluto Press, 2000.
_______. The Rainbow of Desire: The Boal Method of Theatre and Therapy. London: Routledge, 2002.
Boenisch, P. “coMEDIA electrONica: Performing Intermediality in Contemporary Theatre.” Theatre Research International, 28 (1), 2002.
Braun, E. Meyerhold on Theatre. New York: Hill and Wang, 1969.
Brown, T. Action Research and Postmodernism: Congruence and Critique.Buckingham: Open University Press, 2000.
Cabral, B. & Olsen, D. “Framing the Aesthetic Response to a Community Theatre Project.” Applied Theatre Journal, 6 (2005).
Carlson, M. Theatre Semiotics: Signs of Life, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.
Carson, R. & Sumara, J. (editors.) Action Research as a Living Practice. New York:Peter Lang, 1997.
Causey, M. ”Mapping the Dematerialised: Writing Postmodern Performance Theory.” Postmodern Culture, 5 (2), 1995.
Chaudhuri, U. “There Must Be a Lot of Fish in That Lake: Toward an Ecological Theater.”Theater, 25 (1), 1995.
Cohen, A. The Symbol Construction of Community: Key Ideas. London: Routledge, 2000.
Constantinidis, S. Theatre Under Deconstruction? - A Question of Approach. New York and London: Garland, 1993.
Coult, T. & Kershaw, B. Engineers of the Imagination. Methuen, London, 1993.
Culler, J. “Jacques Derrida”. In Structuralism and Since: From Lévi Strauss to Derrida. Edited by J. Sturrock. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.
Debord, G. Society of the Spectacle. Translated by D. Nicholson-Smith. New York: Zone books, 1994.

Dettmar, K. “An Introduction to Postmodernism: Just Let Them Hear Some of that Rock‘n’ Roll Music.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 45, Sep 25, 1998
Dolan, J. “Rehearsing Democracy.” Theatre Topics, 11 (1), 2001, 1–17.
Elsom, J. “Brecht is Back!” World and I, 14 (10), Oct 1999, 95.
Fekete, J (editor). Life After Postmodernism: Essays on Value and Culture. Montreal: New World Perspectives, 1988.
Firat, F. & Dholakia, N. Consuming people: From Political Economy to Theaters of Consumption. London: Routledge, 1998.
Fiske, J. Television Culture. New York: Routledge, 1990.
Foucault, M. The order of things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York: Random House, 1973.

____________. “Governmentality.” In G. Burchell;, C.Gordon, and P. Miller (Eds.), The Foucault effect, studies in governmentality, 87-104. London: Harvester, 1991.
Fuchs, E. “Presence and the Revenge of Writing: Rethinking Theatre After Derrida.” Performing Arts Journal, 9, (2, 3), 1985, 163-173.
Grenz, S. A Primer on Postmodernism. New York: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1996.
Giroux H. & McLaren, P. Between Borders: Pedagogy and the Politics of Cultural Studies. New York: London: Routledge, 1994.
Green, S. “Boal and Beyond: Strategies for Creating Community Dialogue.” Theater. 31 (3), 2001, 47.
Grotowski, J. Towards a Poor Theatre. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1968.
Hartley, A. “Sots and Snots: The Specter of Authenticity in Performance Scripts.” Theatre Topics, 11 (2), 2001, 173-186.
Harvey, D. The Condition of Post-modernity. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990.

Holian, R. “Doing Research in My Own Organisation: Ethical Dilemmas, Hopes and Triumphs.” Action Research International, Paper 3. Online. Available:
Hult, M & Lennung, S. “Towards A Definition of Action Research: A Note and Bibliography.” Journal of Management Studies, 17, 1980, 241-250.
Hutcheon, L. The Politics of Postmodernism. New York: Routledge, 1989.
Jameson, F. Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham: Duke UP, 1991.

Janks, H. “Critical Discourse Analysis as a Research Tool.” Discourse, 18 (3), 1997, 329-343
Jauss, H. Aesthetic Experience and Literary Hermeneutics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982.
Jencks. C. What is Post-modernism? Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1986.
Jensen, K. The Social Semiotics of Mass Communication. London: Sage, 1995 Kendricks, N. “The Second Coming of Tarantino. The Postmodern Poet of Cinematic Pastiche Returns with Kill Bill, Volume 1.” Cleveland Free Times, Wednesday, October 08, 2003. Online. Available:
Kennedy, D. “The Director, the Spectator and the Eiffel Tower.” Theatre Research International, 30 (1), 2005, 36—48.
Kershaw, B. The Politics of Performance: Radical Theatre as Cultural Intervention. London: Routledge, 1992.
___________. The Radical in Performance: Between Brecht and Baudrillard. London:Routledge, 1999.
___________. “Oh for Unruly Audiences! Or, Patterns of Participation in Twentieth- Articles & Essays Book Reviews 12/02/13 8:31 AM 
______. “Performance, Memory, Heritage, History, Spectacle — The Iron Ship.” Studies in Theatre and Performance, 21(3), 2002, 132-149.
___________. “Performance Studies and Po-chang’s Ox: Steps to a Paradoxology of Performance.” New Theatre Quarterly, 22 (1), 2006, 30-53.
Klaver, E. “Spectatorial Theory in the Age of Media Culture.” New Theatre Quarterly, 11, 1995, 309-321.
Kosidowski, P. “Thinking Through the Audience.” Theatre Topics, 13, 1, 2003, 85-102.
Kotarba, J & Joseph, A. "The Postmodernation of Rock and Roll Music: The Case of
Metallica." In: Adolescents and Their Music: If It’s too Loud, You’re too Old. New York:
Garland, 1994, 141-163.
Kress, G. “Critical Discourse Analysis.” Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 11, 1990, 84-99.
Lavers, A. Roland Barthes: Structuralism and After. London: MacMillan, 1982.
Logan, B. “We will Rock You [Review]. The Guardian, May 15, 2002. Online. Available at,11712,766309,00.html
Lyotard, J. The Postmodern Condition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.
Polanyi, M. Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958.
Polanyi, M. & Prosch, H. Meaning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975.
Magill. T. “Interview with Augusto Boal.” Online. Available: Accessed, April 27, 2004.
Martin, J. Voice in Modern Theatre. London: Rout1edge, 1990.
Meyrick, J. “The Limits of Theory: Academic versus Professional Understanding of Theatre Problems.” New Theatre Quarterly, 19 (3), 2003, 242-258.
Mitchell.Katie; The Directors Craft: A Handbook for the Theatre, (Routledge 2003)

McCallum, J. “Cringe and Strut: Comedy and National Identity in Post war Australia.” In Because I Tell a Joke or Two: Comedy, Politics and Social Difference. Edited by S. Wagg. London: Routledge, 1998.
Mc Auley.Gay: Space in Performance; Making Meaning in the Theatre (Metheun Press 2000)

McGrath, J. “Theatre and Democracy.” New Theatre Quarterly, 18 (2), 2002, 133-139.
McLuhan, M. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964. Articles & Essays Book Reviews 12/02/13 8:31 AM Page 33 of 35
__________. The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965.
McNiff, J. Action Research. Principles and Practice, London: Macmillan, 1988.
______. "Third Wave Feminist Linguistics and the Analysis of Sexism." Discourse Analysis Online, 2(1), 2003.
Milner, J. “Arts impact: Arts and culture in community.” Performing Arts & Entertainment in Canada, 34 (1), 11, 12, 2002.
Muller, N. “Theatre of Potentiality. Communicability and the Political in Contemporary Performance Practice.” Theatre Research International, 29 (1), 2004.
Murphie, A. “Negotiating Presence: Performance and New Technologies,” in P. Hayward, editor, Culture, Technology & Creativity, 209-226, London: John Libbey, 1990.
Neale, S. “Questions of Genre.” In O. Boyd-Barrett & C. Newbold (Eds.). Approaches to Media: A Reader. London: Arnold, 1995.
Nietzsche, F. Philosophy and Truth: Selections from Nietzsche's Notebooks of the Early 1870's. trans. and ed. Daniel Breazeale. Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1979.
Olsen, C. “Theatre Audience Surveys: Towards a Semiotic Approach.” New Theatre Quarterly, 18, Iss. 71, 2002, 261-280bb.
Pavis, P. Languages of the Stage: Essays in the Semiology of Theatre. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1993.
Perkins, P. “From Megaworlds to Mini-Magic: Catalyst Theatre’s Process for Small-Scale Spectacle.” Canadian Theatre Review, 97, 1998.
Potter, D. The Singing Detective. London: Faber & Faber, 1986.
Rayner, A. “The Audience: Subjectivity, Community and the Ethics of Listening.” 

Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, 7 (2), 1993. 
Rorty, R. Consequences of Pragmatism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982.
_______. Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
_______. “Feminism, Ideology, and Deconstruction: a Pragmatist View.” (Special Issue: Feminism and Pragmatism) Hypatia, 8 (2), 1993.
Salz, D. “Live Media: Interactive Technology and Theatre. Articles & Essays Book Reviews 12/02/13 8:31 AM Page 34 of 35
Sauter, W. “Who Reacts When, How, and Upon What: From Audience Surveys to the Theatrical Event.” Contemporary Theatre Review, 12, 2002, 115-129.
Schaffer, S. “Disney and the Imagineering of Histories.” Postmodern Culture, 1996, 6 (3).
Schon, D. The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. New York: Basic Books, 1983.
Schwartz, D. “Visual Ethnography: Using Photography in Qualitative Research.” Qualitative Sociology, 12 (2), 1989, 119 – 154.
Shalin, D. “Modernity, Postmodernism, and Pragmatic Inquiry: An Introduction.” Symbolic Interaction, 16 (4), 1993, 303-332.
Shapiro, M, Reading the Postmodern Polity: Political Theory as Textual Practice. Minnesota: University of Minnesota press, 1992.
Stanislavski, C. An Actor Prepares. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1967 (originally published in 1926).
Stringer, E. Action Research: A Handbook for Practitioners, Newbury Park, CA.: Sage, 1999.
Symes, C. “Taking People for a Ride: Dreamworld, Sea World and Movieworld as Excursive practice.” Journal of Australian Studies,1995, 44.
Thomas, J. “Music Video, Youth Culture and Postmodernism.” Popular Music and Society, Fall 1992, 16.
Thompson, J. “The New Visibility.” Theory, Culture & Society, 22 (6), 2005.
Tompkins, J. “A Short Course in Post-structuralism.” College English, 50 (7), 1988.
Tripp, D. “Action Inquiry.” Action Research e-Reports, 017, 2003. Online. Available at
Turner, V. The Anthropology of Performance. New York: PAJ Publications, 1986.
______. Blazing the Trail. Tucson & London: University of Arizona Press, 1992
Watt, S. Postmodern Drama: Reading the Contemporary Stage. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1998.
Wehle, P. Live Performance and Technology. “The Example of Jet Lag.” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, 24 (1), 2002.
Weiss, G. & Wodak, R. (Editors), Critical Discourse Analysis: Theory and Articles & Essays Book Reviews 12/02/13 8:31 AM Page 35 of 35
Interdisciplinarity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
Welton, M. “Against Inclusivity: a Happy Heresy about Theory and Practice.” New Theatre Quarterly, 19 (4), 2003, 347-351.
Westacott, E. “Relativism.” In Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Online. Available:
Wilcox, J. T. Truth and Value in Nietzsche. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1974.
Whitmore, J. Directing Postmodern Theatre: Shaping Signification in Performance. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. 1994.
Wright, E. Postmodern Brecht: A Re-Presentation. Critics of the Twentieth Century.London: Routledge, 1989.

Journal Resources

JSTOR  - an excellent resource for most international journals. Available at itsligo library database.

URL Resources


Film, Director - Katherina Otto-Bernstein, Absolute Wilson: The Biography, featuring Robert Wilson, Susan Sontag, Philip Glass and David Byrne, 2006

Robert Foreman:

Radio Rick in Heaven and Radio Richard in Hell, film (1987)

Total Rain, video play (1990)

Robert Lepage:

1992: Tectonic Plates

1995: Le Confessional

1997: Le Polygraphe

1998: Nô

2000: Possible Worlds

2003: The Far Side of the Moon


Films: Chuck Palahnuik's Fight Club, David Fincher's The Matrix, Kinji Fukasaku's Japanese movie Battle Royale,