Embodying foma: dancing to investigate themes in Cat's Cradle Open Access

Briggs, Laura (Spring 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/1544bq07b?locale=en


Kurt Vonnegut is one of the most prolific and celebrated writers of the 20th century. In this project, I created an intertwined series of solos based on his seminal 1963 novel Cat’s Cradle, which explores themes of religion, science, and the meaninglessness of human existence. However, Vonnegut tackles these topics with humor and grace, allowing for a childlike curiosity and hope in the midst of despair. The primary goals of this project were to embody the style of Kurt Vonnegut’s writing through movement, to speak to the major themes in Cat’s Cradle through dance, and to create a work that leaves the audience feeling the same way the book makes the reader feel—futility, nihilism, and blind hope for the future.

Table of Contents

Introduction (8)

8 The canary in the coal mine

10 Unethical scientists, untrue saints

13 How to write with style

14 A shared language

15 The solo: a self-examination

Process (16)

16 Double translation

19 Muddling the literary and the personal

23 Sinookas: crafting intertwined solos

34 Amplifying voices

About the work (35)

35 Structure: cascades and explosions

38 Otherworldly light

40 Irony and emotion through sound

40 Shared symbolism in costuming

Performance & evaluation (42)

42 No chaos too chaotic

44 Hope and loneliness: audience perspective

46 Empathy and exhaustion: dancer perspective

Conclusion (50)

Appendices (50)

Bibliography (62)

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