Cymbeline Materials’ first project, a video performance installation. Learn More
The Cymbeline Materials research-creation program is at the crossroads of two distinct but complementary research streams, Concordia University’s Resonance Lab and McGill University Shakespeare Group’s Shakespeare and Story.
Research-creation lab for Louis Patrick Leroux’s scholarly and artistic activities into resonant response.
After having explored and engaged intellectually and creatively with the largely forgotten gothic/romantic drama Witchcraft by Joanna Baillie over the course of three years, Louis Patrick Leroux alongside a new team of collaborators (Paul Yachnin, McGill; Jeanne Bovet, Université de Montréal; Meredith Evans, Concordia; and Patrice Aubertin, National Circus School), will read and experience works of Shakespeare and Racine through a process of resonant response. Why resonance? For its responsiveness and for its deep-rooted echo of an original impulse. These projects engage in a resonant response to imperfect and sometimes frustrating source works, allowing for a fundamental reading of the work, a dialogue with it — if only to play up misreadings, playful appropriations, and deconstructions.
The “Shakespeare and the Play of Story” research program will develop a new account of the artistic, social, intellectual, and historical dimensions of Shakespearean narrative. The program takes its lead from figures such as philosopher Hannah Arendt, historiographer Hayden White, legal scholar Paul Gewirtz, and Shakespeare himself, thinkers who tell us that the human lifeworld is fundamentally narrative in character. We remember that Hamlet’s dying wish is that Horatio will, in this harsh world, draw his breath in pain to tell Hamlet’s story. The Prince understands that a well-recounted story of his life will have the best chance of capturing the essential meaning and worth of his personhood.
Headed by Louis Patrick Leroux, Cymbeline Materials will be the research-creation component of the “Shakespeare and Story” research program. A preliminary exploration, acting as a transition out of Resonance Lab’s previous FQRSC-funded three-year exploration “Hypertext and Performance: a Resonant Response to Joanna Baillie’s Witchcraft” is a performative video installation titled Milford Haven. This first exploration into Cymbeline Materials draws from the previous project’s play between live performance and a video triptych in resonant dialogue with the performers. The piece was developed in residence at matralab and Hexagram-Concordia by Louis Patrick Leroux and colleagues at Resonance Lab. First public showing, September 2012.
Dr. Leroux’s contribution to the “Shakespeare & Story” research programme will focus on experiential and creative approaches to research. Concretely, he will be called upon to investigate and read Shakespeare’s Cymbeline own palimpsestic narrative, plot structures, and origins through ur- and proto-Cymbeline sources and later variants through performance, with actors and dramaturgical support. The Shakespearean “orginal” will confront Boccacio’s Decameron, principal source-text for Cymbeline, as well as George Bernard Shaw’s 1936, Cymbeline Refinished: A Variation on Shakespeare’s Ending, while referencing other contemporary playful responses and comments on the work, such as Stephen Sondheim’s The Frogs, and Louis Patrick Leroux’s own Milford Haven (1996, Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui, and 2012 video performance installation).
In 2012-13, he will work with scholars from the research group and graduate students with a strong dramaturgical and theatre-design background in establishing a playscript of Cymbeline materials allow the team to fully explore the philosophical and dramaturgical implications of Shakespeare’s (re)moulding (and sometimes foreshadowing) of theatrical narrative.
In 2013-14, he will direct a version of Cymbeline drawing upon texts by Shakespeare, Boccacio, Shaw, Sondheim, Leroux, and other playwrights. This artistic and pedagogical work (working with undergraduate students in theatrical production and graduate students in analytical and dramaturgical roles) will be the basis to his own experiential approach to research-creation: theory and text will be confronted to audience and theatre practice, rather than an a posteriori reading of what has already been accomplished.