Title

The Jekyll’s Hide Project. Devising Jekyll’s Hide: A critical analysis of the performative elements and working methods of Jerry Lewis and the butoh dancers Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno

Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Dr Renee Newman

Second Advisor

Dr Jonathan W. Marshall

Third Advisor

Dr Frances Barbe

Field of Research Code

1904

Abstract

This practice-led research project explored the process of devising for performance for the stage via physical theatre workshops. The research was informed by Japanese butoh dance-theatre and its two creators, Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno, and by the work of American comic Jerry Lewis. I began with exercises in group workshops derived from butoh movement practice, followed by inspiration drawn from Jerry Lewis’s performance and directorial work in his films, and from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I developed a workshop exercise and devising process where ideas and methodologies from butoh and Jerry Lewis were used to produce a butoh-Lewis approach to performance making.

In seeking to fuse the elements of movement-voice-film-literature, a series of exercises emerged to form a methodology for devising for performance. Over the course of the research I conducted workshops, a devising period, presented an early-stage showing (of the new work: Jekyll’s Hide: Mind world) and a later-stage, expanded performance for Perth’s Fringe World Festival. The results of the workshop series and devising process illuminated a need in this research project for rigorous physical experimentation based on butoh exercises and close viewing of the work of Jerry Lewis. The practice-led research exemplifies the notion of a studio-based enquiry; in this instance, it is the process involved in developing methods for performance making that reveal the greatest results and not the performance outcome.

The research adds to current knowledge in performance making by bringing together the unlikely, yet surprisingly synergetic elements of butoh and Lewis. This thesis demonstrates that studies into particular performing artists, when placed side by side, are useful in developing a particular performance-making process. The transferability of this research comes in understanding that combining seemingly disparate performance qualities (and their artists) is an invigorating addition to the devising process, which I offer as the Sleeping-Walking-Talking performance-making model. The research revealed an intriguing fusion of form including a particular type of grotesque clown.

Access Note

Access to this thesis is restricted to the exegesis and to current ECU staff and students. Email request to library@ecu.edu.au

Access to this thesis is restricted. Please see the Access Note below for access details.

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