Martin Shaw


How is the Severance/Threshold/Return progression in both mythology and modern wilderness rites-of-passage established through metaphor? An enquiry conducted through contemporary storytelling practice. This research examines the metaphorical structures within seven selected myths in relation to wilderness rites-of-passage, and the key thematic progression of Severance/Threshold/Return. These rites-of-passage are an essential component of an ongoing programme offered to the general public. The research is primarily creative in that the oral texts have been developed from extant myth over several years, and adapted to a variety of performance contexts. The evolution of these oral texts is examined in an analytical text, which draws on contemporary philosophy and critical theory to consider both the activity of wilderness rites-of-passage, and the role of metaphor within the storytelling. Crucial to the methodology is mythography; myth apprehended not by one perspective, but requiring consideration by a variety of disciplines. The concept of shape shifting is central to the seven stories, and also suggestive of the processes contained within this submission, to which there are four components: 1. The session texts; transcripts of performance sessions which took place over a twelve-month period with the same twenty-five participants. The texts contain three years of preparatory research, creative and analytical, presented orally to the group, and subsequently transcribed and revised according to new research, but retaining the syntax of an oral presentation. 2. Analytical text; this engages with a wider discourse on the properties of myth, and contextualises the constituent elements of the session texts. 3. Oral recordings; a recording of a live theatre performance, with improvised syntax, language and metaphor, is presented in contrast to a controlled studio recording. 4. Painting; during the programme, my artistic practice was affected by an enhanced understanding of the mythological elements, and the silent, solitary practice of painting asserted itself as a profound way to contemplate the severance/threshold/return progression.

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