Analyzing a postmodern script through its mise-en-scene: An approach to Richard Foreman's "Paradise Hotel"



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



I conceived and executed this dissertation as a means of answering questions that were either raised or left unanswered by my MA thesis, which I completed in 1999. These questions involve the issues that production-minded individuals are certain to encounter when attempting to produce plays based on Richard Foreman’s published texts. The unique nature of Foreman’s writing makes his texts resistant to commonly used analytical methods. At the same time, the nature of the theatrical production process requires, albeit tacitly, the development of a method of restaging a playwright’s work.

This dissertation examines the inherent challenges of staging Foreman’s texts with an eye toward a process of creative dramaturgy. The complexities associated with mounting a production based on one of Foreman’s texts encompass practically every phase of the production process. The dramaturgical process must, therefore, develop a means of analyzing this text as well as a means of implementing the results of that analysis. The analytical process involves extracting meanings from one of Foreman’s published texts and then assigning meanings to the same text after its being purged of any unnecessary details. The implementation process involves developing a series of strategies based on the results of the analysis that will assist the members of the production team as they assemble and combine the various production elements, including the actors, set, and props. One of the most rewarding aspects of this dramaturgical process is that it allows one text to be the source of two very different, and potentially contradictory, sets of meanings, each of which I see as being equally valid.