Ajeet Singh – Performing Social Surface Through Discursive Space: Re-viewing the Theatrical Poetics of David Williamson


Ajeet Singh

English, BPSMV, Khanpur Kalan, Sonipat, India

Performing Social Surface Through Discursive Space: Re-viewing the Theatrical Poetics of David Williamson

Performance helps us to perceive ‘action’ as experience. It transforms ‘act’ into experience. The entire oeuvre of David Williamson, one of the most successful contemporary Australian playwrights, and its tremendous impact on contemporary Australian culture is the result of a dramaturgy which cannot be defined through any established paradigms of theatrical performance of present or past times. It has been structured on a unique philosophy of theatre which David Williamson conceptualized. Though, he didn’t put forth any formal theoretical statement on his craft in the form of a critical treatise, yet one may discern an aesthetic pattern of performance from his works and the conversations/interviews he has given on various occasions. Critics and scholars around the world try to explore the reasons of his extremely successful work as a theatre person by going through both the content and form of his entire oeuvre critically. The present paper is an attempt to explore the poetics of the body of a theatrical work which is quantitatively and qualitatively so vast that has created a lasting impact on the consciousness of an entire generation. The paper discusses David Williamson’s theory of theatre where it has been taken as a ‘discursive space’ to perform the patterns of social interaction. 

Dr. Ajeet Singh earned his Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and wrote his doctoral thesis on European Experimental Theatre and Ancient Indian Theatre. He has been teaching as Assistant Professor since August 2008 in the Dept. of English, BPSMV, Khanpur Kalan, Sonipat, India. His teaching experience ranges from undergraduate to postgraduate levels covering varied fields of literary studies like Contemporary Literary Theory, Indian Poetics, Cultural Studies and Western Literary Theory and Criticism. He has been actively involved in guiding research and other academic activities. As an academic, along with intensive teaching work, he has been doing research work in terms of publishing research articles in different research journals and presenting research papers in different national and international conferences. He has presented his research paper based on a comparative study of Indian theatreand Brazilian theatre in IFTR-2017 Conference, Sao Paulo, Brazil.  As an invited speaker, he has also participated and presented his papers in another two important Conferences i.e. IFTR-2018 Conference in Belgrade, Serbia and LMU, Munich, Germany. Recently, participated in IFTR-2019, Shanghai, China and presented his research and chaired one of the technical sessions in the conference. 

Graham Seaman – A National Success by a Regional Theatre Company

Graham Seaman

A National Success by a Regional Theatre Company

Bob Herbert’s most famous play ‘No names … No pack drill’ premiered in Armidale in 1979 at the New England Travelling Theatre. Before touring in a season across New England the play was next presented by the Sydney Theatre Company and was one of the successes of the 1980 Sydney Theatre Company season.  

Herbert was a regional playwright from Armidale and the majority of his plays have only been seen in the New England region of Australia. However, ‘No names … No pack drill’ is unique because it has been adapted into a film and is regularly presented outside the New England region. Thus from bumping in or setting up of a production to bumping out or breaking down of a production the companies presenting this play have shown a commitment to their various communities.  

Herbert also has a National context alongside New-Wave playwrights of the 1970s and 1980s such as David Williamson. Unlike new wave playwrights, whose focus was on contemporary themes and settings, Herbert’s most commercially successful play ‘No names … No pack drill.’ was concerned with an historical story set in the 1940s. 

This paper explores ‘No names … No pack drill’, how it has been promoted and productions of the play, to examine what it says about Australia’s relationship with the United States of America.

Graham Seaman is a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and a Graduate Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History graduate of the University of New England. He has directed productions of What Where by Samuel Beckett and Oh What A Lovely War at the University of New England. He worked with Adrian Kiernander as a research assistant on several books by Adrian Kiernander, Jonathan Bollen and Bruce Parr. He has also been a research assistant on several books by Lorraine Stacker. He trained in theatre at the Q Theatre, Penrith in acting and theatre.

Michele McNamara – How do we gather for rehearsal?


Michele McNamara

Deakin University

How do we gather for rehearsal?

Theatre rehearsal is an ‘Act of Gathering’ occurring in a designated space with a select group of people for a predetermined time. While rehearsal practice differs from practitioner to practitioner, it contains common rituals, a distinct language and a number of shared understandings. This paper draws on a recent study of the rehearsal practices of a small number of Australian women theatre directors undertaken for my MA entitled: In Plain Sight: Australian Women Directors and their rehearsal room practices in the contemporary theatre context. I will present the results of interviews and rehearsal observations and report on the techniques and skills they employ in rehearsal to research, plan, communicate, negotiate and collaborate with diverse casts and creatives. Specific aspects of leadership will be highlighted in the four key areas: responsibility, proximity, attention and balance. The paper concludes with a discussion of an approach to the challenges inherent in contemporary rehearsal practice and how these subtle skills and techniques underpin the way in which the mood of the room, the co-operation of others, and the shared commitment to the creative process transform a social workplace into a heightened gathering.

Michele McNamara. An emerging researcher, Michele recently completed MA at Deakin University following a Graduate Diploma of Creative Arts and BA (Drama), Graduate Diploma of Education at LaTrobe University and choreography studies at Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. As an independent theatre practitioner, Michele has produced and directed productions in many venues, small and large, all around Melbourne. Michele had a long career as teacher specializing in VCE Drama, Dance and Theatre Studies and has held leadership positions in educational settings at leading private schools. Current research interests include actor well-being, psycho-physical acting techniques, interpreting text through non-verbal means and ethical practices.