Master of Creative Arts – Research
Department of Creative Arts
Therese, Karen, The Comfort Zone, Master of Creative Arts – Research thesis, Department of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, 2012. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/4290
The Comfort Zone is a research project comprising a performance/lecture and research paper that was created as a platform for reflecting on my experiences as the leader of, and collaborating participant in, performance projects since 2002. Since the early 2000s, I have created a number of complex intercultural, large-‐scale and site-‐specific works that have often addressed the racial and political tensions experienced by communities disadvantaged and marginalised by their low socio-‐ economic status. These works have employed a range of theatre-‐making strategies often described as avant-‐garde or experimental, but more recently understood in terms of the ‘Postdramatic’, a term coined by German theatre scholar, Hans-‐Thies Lehmann (2006).
The research paper seeks to elucidate the ideas of comfort and discomfort that are the focus of the performance/lecture, The Comfort Zone, and which are discussed not only in terms of my MCA-‐R project but also three of my earlier works, understood as fundamental to my development as an artist and which have led directly to the development and presentation of The Comfort Zone. It does so through a discussion of ‘the poetics of failure’ as articulated by UK-‐based academic, Sara Jane Bailes (2010) and the ethics of spectatorship as discussed by Australian theatre scholar, Helena Grehan.
The three earlier works are: Sleeplessness produced and presented by Performance Space, Sydney in 2003; Gathering Ground: History, ceremony, protest, commissioned and produced by PACT Theatre and Redfern Community Centre, Sydney in 2006; and The Riot Act produced and presented by Campbelltown Arts Centre and Blacktown Arts Centre, Sydney in (2009). This paper also discusses how my research on comfort has been used as a catalyst for the transformation of my practice, through an analysis of the processes of creating and presenting more recent works including: The Comfort Zone (2011), The Hunting Party (2012) and FUN PARK (2014).