Remedies for Connection: Polyvagal Practices and Participatory Performance

Anne Marina Fidler

2020-2022

“Remedies for Connection” is a research project aimed at giving a new approach to participatory performance practices. It is an exploration of how performers can actively access and use vulnerability to incite participation in performance and how participation can be used to experience Peter Wessel Zapffe’s theory of sublimation. It uses the practice of karaoke as the site for its investigation and relates the function of the singing voice to knowledge gained from polyvagal theory and practice.

This thesis expands upon definitions of vulnerability and re-works them to deepen its understanding in relation to participatory performance. It breaks down different elements of vulnerability, such as failure and shame and puts them in relation to their physiological and psychological underpinnings as explained by polyvagal and attachment theory. These theories are used to inform participatory performance practices. One result of this research is new method for performers to access vulnerability on stage, which I have named “The Power Ballad Approach”. This thesis also presents a framework for participatory performance which offers both dramaturgical and choreographic scores for the audience and was used to create the performance work “Remedies Against Panic”.

Supervisor : João da Silva
External mentor: Sarah Thom

keywords: participatory performance practices, vulnerability, polyvagal theory, failure, shame, karaoke

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