Autumn is here!
Okay, it’s not that autumnal yet.
Classes have started, and so has my M.A. thesis writing. I thought I’d document my thoughts on the process for a couple of reasons.
- If I commit in writing, I have to do it.
- I need to let out some steam every now and again.
- Writing down my ideas is a great way to brainstorm.
- Any feedback and comments from you guys will be tremendous help.
So here I go!
I wanted my thesis to reflect my career choices, so I knew from early on that I should write about theatre. Before the first thesis group meeting, I already had some basic building blocks written down.
- Queer theory
- Rehearsal process
- Popular culture items
They seem a little scattered, and believe me – that’s how I saw them as well. But that’s what I had to work with. In my B.A. thesis, I analysed Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead as a text, so this time I knew I wanted something more practical.
On the first meeting of our thesis group, our supervisor had us make a timeline to visualise the progress we would like to make. We all wrote down when we want to be ready with our research plans, and initial and interim reports. Finally, we wrote down when the thesis will be done. My timeline (now I have to stick to it!) looks a little like this:
The first few months of my plan.
September. Have research problem/question clarified. Get the cast together.
October. Present research plan. Gather material with cast. Get theory.
November. A lot of writing. Gather material with cast. Get theory.
December. Initial report.
January. Writing. Play rehearsals almost complete.
February. Performances of the play. Writing.
April. Interim report at the latest.
May. Thesis ready.
Afterwards we, together with the supervisor, signed our own plans in order to commit. I now have said plan on my wall to keep my goals in mind all the time.
When I got home, I dug straight into internet databases to start assembling theory. My progress is quite dependent on getting the right research problem, because that’s what I need to work with together with my cast. I read and read and read, but nothing got me to that magical light bulb moment.
Until dinnertime yesterday.
I sat down with my sister to have dinner, and we started talking about my thesis. After a while of talking, I blurted something out and my sister said: “But that’s good. That sounded good to me.” I quickly got a pen and wrote down my words on a napkin. And there I had it. My research problem! Finally something to work with!
‘Conqueering’ the stage. The transformation of heteronormative popular culture items in play devising. On a napkin.
Finally, here’s a list of all the things I’ve done for my thesis. When I’m stressed, I have a tendency to think I’ve done absolutely nothing, so maybe mapping out my progress can help me manage that stress.
WHAT I’VE DONE SO FAR:
- Started reading theory.
- Gathered a lot more reading to do.
- Come up with a research problem.
- Invented a working title I’m happy with.
- Sent a message to actors about my project.
- Set a deadline for having a cast together.
I’m actually quite excited about all this!