Lawrence, Katherine L 1955-
Burned Heart is a performance memoir that grew out of my desire to take a language-based approach to playwriting. Specifically, the structure is dialogic in that the performance uses a number of strategies that range from polyphonic voices to the use of found, or borrowed, elements. These strategies developed organically while referencing (and resisting) my practice as an established poet. With respect to the theme of Burned Heart, I set out to explore the characteristics that some adults develop as a result of childhood experiences related to the breakdown of family structure. As someone who grew up in the shadow of divorce, I was interested in merging specific memories with contemporary research, particularly the work of the late American psychologist, Dr. Judith Wallerstein. Her career was shaped by a twenty-five year longitudinal study that investigated the effects that divorce has on families. Growing up, I was told (and believed) that my parents’ divorce would not, and did not, affect me. Wallerstein’s study, and the work of others, affirmed for me that divorce does indeed spell long-term consequences for the children involved. Burned Heart is set as a mindscape. The characters, staging, costumes, lighting, and props represent a married woman’s exploration of the aftershocks of a traumatic event. I reached for dreams, ghosts, historic characters, and fractal memory to build the thirteen scenes that constitute Burned Heart. The title is wordplay on one of the names of a central character, the famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt, who lived from 1844-1923 and makes a return in this dramatic work.
DegreeMaster of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
CommitteeHaig-Bartley, Pamela; Clark, Hilary; Thorpe, Doug
Copyright DateOctober 2017