Applying the performance concepts of Eugenio Barba to the stage direction of "The Romance of Erin"
In the fall semester of the 2006-2007 school year, I directed James McDermott’s play, The Romance of Erin, as part of Texas Tech University’s Lab Theatre Season. I directed the play in order to fulfill the requirements of the Department of Theatre and Dance’s Master of Fine Arts in Performance and Pedagogy degree plan. I also directed the play with the knowledge that it would be the subject of a thesis that would be an additional requirement for the completion of my desired degree. What follows is the thesis that resulted from my work as the director of The Romance of Erin. In giving my account of my direction of McDermott’s script, I discuss my preparations for directing it, an analysis of the script in terms of how I believed it could be communicated to and received by an audience, and an account of the actual rehearsal and production process that resulted. More specifically, I detail how I applied the performance and directing concepts of Eugenio Barba in addressing the challenges with which the script presented me in both the preparation and actual directing processes. I also employ the idea of open and closed performances in Marco De Marinis’s essay, “Dramaturgy of the Spectator,” in order to argue that the intention of Barba’s productions is to invite a plurality of interpretations among spectators, and that The Romance of Erin has the potential to also invite this plurality until its final scenes in which it explains itself to the audience. Finally, I describe how I was able to integrate both the performance techniques of Barba (who rejects “realism” on stage) with acting techniques associated with the Method.