“Sourcing Within: A Reflexive Investigation of a Creative Path”
– Gey Pin Ang’s PhD in Drama by Practice as Research, under the supervision of Prof. Paul Allain and Dr Angeliki Varakis-Martin, School of Arts, University of Kent, UK
My Practice-as-Research doctoral dissertation, Sourcing Within: A Reflexive Investigation of a Creative Path explores potential sources for performer training and the creative process in performance work. I draw extensively from my embodied research in Taijiquan and songs from my Chinese cultural source, which I have explored since the early 1990s. Stemming from this embodied practice, I examine the notion of “care of the self” since Greco-Roman time, and how it can enhance the work of the performer via her physical and vocal presence. My research methodology draws upon Robin Nelson’s writings on Practice as Research, Foucault’s ideas in Practice of Self and Clark Moustakas’s Phenomenological Research, primarily Heuristic Inquiry with the practitioner and her experiences as key resources.
In parallel to care of the self runs the idea of care of the craft as in Konstantin Stanislavski’s notion. What I argue for is a persistent practice on/through the source techniques that can lead to a unity of the bodymind, thus elevating the quality of the performer’s practice. My hands-on experiences have also nourished my pedagogical work with cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural performing practitioners through my Sourcing Within project (since 2006). All these human interactions and shared experiences have enriched and expanded the scope of my research, as evidenced in my writing.
Part of my Practice-as-Research is a creative synthesis entitled Wandering Sounds which I have created in collaboration with musician Nickolai D. Nickolov. Our collaboration explores the coalescence of text, song, music, and movement within a performance. The performance encompasses “musicality” and asks whether musical and performative integration can yield a renewed path for creativity. It aims at reaching audiences from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. This piece has served as an important platform in my investigation of whether or not it is possible to transmit the insight gained in a performer’s self-practice to the audience in the performance context. Wandering Sounds has also facilitated my inquiry into whether or not the audience can follow the performer’s process of self-transformation by watching it in performance.