Ellis, Mark Richard (2012) A Masquerade Dance of Liars: Reality, Fiction and Dissimulation in Immersive Theatre. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This research engages with the complex relationship between reality and fiction in immersive theatre. It proposes a theoretical standpoint, based upon the constructivist epistemological theory of Maturana (1980) and Schmidt (1984), which allows critical analysis of the reality/fiction complex. The study then tests this method of analysis on nine existing pieces of work by other artists. The findings from this analysis are then used to explore the notion of dissimulation, the manner by which the constructed fictional artifice of the performance is presented in such a way as it begins to appropriate the conventions of everyday reality. Dissimulation is also used as the basis upon which to suggest points for development in existing work as a means of highlighting the potential use of analysis for practitioners. The application of the strategies used to dissimulate existing work along with application of theory behind the process of dissimulation are then applied practically to the creation of scripts for two new pieces of work, Menagerie and Wonderland. The study also suggests the utilisation of the technique of retrospecting and the proposes the concept of char/actor augmentation as a means of facilitating improvisation through a performance script. The study concludes that the application of constructivist epistemological theory through the proposed method of analysis can reveal information about the manner by which works of immersive theatre apply dissimulative strategies that is re-applicable in the creation of new work and therefore presents a means of thinking that can help practitioners to develop new and existing work.

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