Shiva's dance : playwriting as process : an attempt to bridge the chasm between linear thinking and mythopoeic consciousness

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Nixon, Gregory Michael
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 1990
This document consists of two parts: one is a creative work (a full-length play) and the other is an introduction to and a commentary upon my experience of the creative process. The play, Shiva's Dance, is an attempt to understand--from within, as it were--varous individuals' encounters with the miraculous. I understand the miraculous to mean that which is inexplicable in any rational or past-experiential sense. My play is set in Sri Lanka, near the village of Kataragama where the annual firewalking ceremonies take place even today. Firewalking is the central "miracle" of the play, but it symbolically represents much more: It is an intiation of consciousness and only those who are ready for the sacred experience of silent awareness can succeed at it. There are various representatives of Western Culture present in Sri Lanka for various reasons in my play. There is a Protestant Christian missionary and his frustrated wife. There is an agricultural technologist who is the voice of reason and science. And there is a CUSO teacher: she grows into the focal point of the play and she discovers her own resources in the face of terror. Yes, terror: The play is set in Sri Lanka, so other difficulties arise from these circumstances. The Sri Lankan civil war comes to the corner where these individuals are working out their destinies and terrorists play a role in the events' unfolding. Furthermore, there is the "old" versus the "new" conflict between two other characters--a father and a son--who are Sr i Lankan. And, lastly, at the most obvious level, the play involves us in questions of cross-cultural education and/or indoctrination. It forces each of us (I hope) to question the cultural imperatives which we take for granted and to realize that these imperatives must be deconstructed to awaken to new self-created potentials. Because Shiva's Dance was written in isolation, I naturally had to deal with the impact of its unveiling to other minds. I write about this in my Introduction in a general way, and in a longer Appendix in a more personal manner. In these parts, I attempt to study the process of creating characters who sometimes act against the writer'S intentions and with the writer'S assumed need to prevent this. I also deal openly with the process of continual rewrites and dealings with friendly critics and my review committee.
iii, 57, ix leaves ; 29 cm.
Playwriting -- Case studies