Joanna K. Donehower is a playwright, dramaturg, and doctoral student (Ph.D. in Humanities, Arts-Based Research, Performance/Theatre Studies, and English Literature) at Concordia University. Her current project Curiocité/y, the creative site for her doctoral research, is a curiosity cabinet, mobile archive, miniature theatre, and cantastoria device which begins its perambulations of rue Ontario in Montreal in spring of 2013.
Public Spaces, Public Spheres, and Peregrinating Performance: Curiocité/y and rue Ontario
Curiocité/y the creative site for my doctoral research is a curiosity cabinet, mobile archive, miniature theatre, and cantastoria device, beginning its perambulations of rue Ontario in Montreal in spring of 2013. A wooden display cabinet towed by a bicycle trailer, Curiocité/y merges the fixed and the mobile, the domestic and the public, the visual/verbal, and the embodied in its dramaturgy. Drawing upon popular street performance traditions like puppet theatre and cantastoria, and staged through narrative song, urban fables, uncanny artefacts, and theatrical devices, Curiocité/y resituates the curiosity cabinet in the street as a roving performance space in the city. Curiocité/y uses participatory performance to reconsider received notions of place, and to create alternative fictions, as well as imaginary sites and rites of public life.
I am proposing a creative performance/installation of Curiocité/y, in addition to a discussion of research strands. My research and practice ask how and where site-specific performances stage urban imaginaries and histories. I am considering how artists in Montreal are pursuing at the street level scenarios of radical democracy and historiography in response to nationalist and regionalist metanarratives, massive urban development projects and maps, and neoliberal austerity measures. Working through and against the claim that performance outside of conventional theatre settings produces a liberatory subject position for the spectator within the event, my research, after Rancière, reconsiders the [re]situation of the spectator in situ and bipedal performance, exploring the relationship between the walking, watching, and thinking spectator, and between passivity, activity, errancy, reflection, and criticality.