Adapting musicology’s use of affect theories to contemporary theatre-making: directing Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life

Alyson Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Adopting and adapting musicology’s use of affect theories, specifically Jeremy Gilbert’s idea of an ‘affective analysis’ and David Epstein’s idea of ‘shaping affect’, this article looks at Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life from a practitioner’s perspective. It investigates the challenges and benefits of adopting an ‘affective approach’ to directing recent theatre texts which stress the musicality and corporeality of language along with, and at times above, their signifying roles. Rather than locating Aristotelian dramatic climaxes based on narratological or characterological progression, an affective approach seeks to identify moments of affective intensity, which produce a different sort of impact by working on a ‘body-first’ methodology rather than the directly cerebral. That this embodied impact is not ultimately meaningless is one of affect theories most vital assertions. This approach has resonance in terms of how directors, performers and critics/theorists approach work of this type.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Adaptation in Film and Performance
Volume5(1)
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

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