Julia Lee Barclay
PhD candidate, University of Northampton

Apocryphal Theatre, "The Jesus Guy" (2006), Camden People's Theatre. Written and directed by Julia Lee Barclay. Photography by Birthe Jorgensen.

“Apocryphal Theatre: Holding Tension”

Whilst showing a looping slide-show of photos taken by Birthe Jorgensen during Apocryphal’s show ‘The Jesus Guy’, I will discuss the methodologies of my PhD thesis including its relationship to the documentation of a live performance event (including the role of Jorgensen as a sculptor/photographer within a performance process) and how that relates to my own artistic process as a director/writer.
I will focus on working with the tension between theory and practice by the process of creating ‘working definitions,’ i.e. definitions which point to a discovery of a performance idea, but which can slip and slide as the idea changes in relationship to its use in practice – a word that works to evoke rather than to pin down, but also has the power to communicate. This process of creating working definitions is a place where the meaning of words and realities can be both contested and reified, and therefore can be seen in their multiplicitous ambiguity and their symbolic power. This relates directly to Apocryphal’s mission to unearth the rules of the room, especially regarding things about which we say ‘that’s the way it is.’ One of the sites of these rules is language, though of course the Text (in Barthes’ definition) involved can also be visual or gestural.
As an example of working definitions in practice, the last part of the presentation will include a brief 10 minute workshop (using three volunteers from the audience or panel), which will play with cutting up academic and artistic clichés.