- What is performance? In the first half of the class we will try to arrive at a working definition of performance and performativity, and work with various definitions that are given by our various authors. We will be mostly focusing on performance as a bodily act that has to do with the making of gender and identity, that has to do with (re-)presentation of the self, although performativity of texts, performativity of objects/things are alos talked about. One aspect of performance which I would like to bring up is the relationship between performance and space. Performances can be bodily and individual, performances can be collective. Performance can be everyday, hidden in our gestures, mimicry, our bodily language, learned body techniques. Performance can be extraordinary and spectacular as in ritual performances, theatrical performances, festivals, state ceremonies and so on an so forth. They may be "scripted" performances where the main structure of the play are determined in the framework of a scenario. But performances are also largely spontaneous, creative, in excess, improvised, fluid. Schechner proposes that performances "exist only as actions, interactions and relationships" (24) I would like to see us unpack many of these aspects of performance.
- In contemporary social theory and in disciplines such as archaeology an anthropology, "performance" slowly replaces "behavior" as a concept concerning the human practices of the everyday world. What are the major differences between performance and behavior in your opinion? How does Schechner's "restored behavior" fit into this discussion?
- Does performance need an audience? Can you think of a performance without an audience?
- Jon Mitchell writes: "Whilst it is true that performativity is a property of; at least some aspects of; everyday life, there is nevertheless an important distinction to be made between everyday performance and the more extraordinary performance of theatrical or ritual events." What is this distinction between everyday performances and extraordinary ones?