Stretching Time, Writing ‘Groundless Forms of Meaning’: Inviting An Aporetic Consciousness Of Reflection Into Performance’s Aftermath

  • Mary Elizabeth Anderson


This essay proposes that the “affective turn” in performance scholarship, which has elevated the status of PaR in some respects, requires a corresponding re-examination of existing models of reflective practice, which compartmentalize reflection temporally and orient the writer towards reflection as a form of “problem-solving,” implicitly encouraging narratives of amelioration. I am seeking to stretch time, or, rather, to lay down a fabric of writing that stretches over my experience of the pastness of then, while also accommodating my experience of the presentness of then, or, how “then” is “now.” This is to say that, because my experience of re-membering or re-animating this training gives rise to a non-linear experience of time, I have come to find a need to create a kind of writing that is also productive of a non-linear experience of time (even as it seeps back into the conventional categorical confines of how I imagine time).  

MARY ELIZABETH ANDERSON is an Assistant Professor in the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Mary’s research and creative activity engages questions about the human relationship to place. Her essays about performer training and community performance have appeared in: About Performance; African Theatre; Australasian Drama Studies; Body, Space & Technology; Brolga: An Australian Journal About Dance; Journal of Dance Education and Research in Drama Education (RiDE). Co-authored works with Doug Risner have appeared in Arts Education Policy Review and Teaching Artist Journal. She is currently at work on a manuscript about site-specific performance, memory, and Australia.