Research Fellow Claire MacDonald is a theatre maker and writer, and co-founder of the journalPerformance Research.
Her research seminar explores the world of her recent book of plays, Utopia, a trio of conversations, staging imaginary worlds that might be, might have been, might be to come.
In a room in the middle of nowhere, a man and a woman talk. Who knows where they are. In here they dream up spectacular worlds: a decaying city, a lush and crumbling garden, a train journey across a drowned landscape. Utopia routes us through imaginary worlds; worlds that echo this one, journeys through maps of the mind. Darkly humorous, absurd, and surreal, these are plays for a theatre in which time and space, character and setting, are as uncertain as the maps this man and woman draw. They blur the lines between reality and fiction, literature and drama, and in doing so, they return us to conversation. They are, perhaps, part of a tradition of telling tall stories, tales to while away dead time, imagining utopias.
Part celebration, part reading, part consideration of the relationship of word and image, the seminar will explore the practices of theatre making and writing in conversation with some of the actors, directors and designers who have worked on the Utopia pieces throughout their history.
Photo by Victor Albrow; with Steffi Mueller and Jerry Killick