Third Year PhD Student in the Theatre and Performance Studies Department
In the period from the 18th May to the 21st June I visited Croatia for the purpose of the fieldwork research for my PhD thesis entitled ‘Performing Martyrdom: Theatre and Community in the East Adriatic Saints’ Plays’.
Given that an important part of my analysis is grounded in historical reconstruction of the performances of the saints’ plays, the archival research occupies a central place in my research. I have conducted the majority of the archival research during the first and the second year of my PhD studies. I have already recorded documents from: the state archive in Zadar which contains the majority of the archival documents related to the life of Dalmatian civic confraternities, the organizations responsible for performances, and from the church archives from the island of Hvar, the island which is geographically the focal point of my research. Nevertheless, during my analysis there appeared a need for additional sources from the archives of the convents. The Centre for the Study of the Renaissance Greg Wells Small Research Award supported financially my visit to those archives. I have used the £180 to cover the traveling costs for my return trip from the UK to Croatia.
During my stay at the island of Hvar I visited the Archbishops Archive in Hvar, and the archive of the Dominican Monastery in Stari Grad. While many documents which I have recorded in the archives helped me further reconstruct the social and cultural context in which the performances took place, one document I found especially important. In the Dominican Monastery, among the group of documents entitled Le cose varie (Different Things) I found the text entitled L’ Opera Di San Lorenzo (The Play of Saint Lawrence). After a close examination of the text I have discovered that the text in question is the Play of Life and Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, the most popular Dalmatian saint play. The text was used as script for the performance in the nineteenth century which can be concluded by the well elaborated explicit stage directions, and language in which the directions were written (Italian/different from the language of the play) which was common for the early modern performances of medieval genres. This finding is important for my thesis because it will help me reconstruct the historical performances of the saints’ plays. Moreover, this finding will also contribute to the broader knowledge of European drama.