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Revealing the taboo : a theatrical investigation


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Dobson, GP 2007 , 'Revealing the taboo : a theatrical investigation', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

PDF (Whole thesis vol. 1)
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PDF (Whole thesis vol. 2)
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The project, Revealing the Taboo: A Theatrical Investigation, is a study into theatre
that attempts to break down the barriers between open society and its regulatory
alternative, the area of taboos. Initial motivations for the project were drawn from my
experience as a playwright, exploring themes such as paedophilia and child abuse. My
previous work prompted the question, 'If taboos are revealed from a perspective that
attempts to challenge the social norm, how might that affect the sensitivities of an
The exegesis (the theoretical component of the project) presents an extensive
exploration of the relationships taboos have with contemporary theatrical
presentation. Through the exegesis I establish a contemporary definition for taboo in
relation to the theatre, differentiating it from current trends such as Aleks Sierz's
In-Yer-Face' theatre. Set against the theatrical context, I also examine taboo as a current
social norm, incorporating both the sanctions and penalties attracted by those who
deviate from that norm. The exegesis supports the key focus of the project, the
examination and creation of theatre that reveals taboo behaviour from a challenging
perspective, in the process jeopardising the very concept of social norms. This style of
theatre questions the status of certain taboos by reducing the degree of deviance
associated with participation in taboo behaviour. The project identifies and presents a
genre, Theatre of Taboos, and the exegesis examines the construction and
effectiveness of this hypothesised genre. Three areas are particularly examined:
firstly, taboos and incorporation of taboos in the theatre; secondly, cultural
boundaries, limitations and restrictions — sanctions and penalties; and thirdly, the
construction and sensitivities of the contemporary theatrical audience.
The creative component of the project consists of a script presented through theatrical
performance, these complementing and giving life to the notions set out in the
theoretical investigation. The script, Ruled Lines, is an attempt to show a positive
perspective of a taboo relationship between a teacher and their student, revealing
taboos from a perspective that raises awareness of and challenges perceptions of what
might constitute socially-condoned behaviour.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Dobson, GP
Keywords: Taboo, Social norms
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2007 the author

Additional Information:

DVDs referred to in volume two are missing.

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