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This thesis explores two regional offshoots of the annual Burning Man Festival in Nevada (Burns)--Ohio's Scorched Nuts and Georgia's Euphoria--by examining how, through performance and play activities in these temporary festival settings, participants may form with one another deep, communal relationships evocative of Victor Turner's concept of communitas. Combining theoretical reading, field research, and participant interviews, it discusses the political potential of these relationships as well as the way that participant theatricality and festival dramaturgies contribute to their construction. The thesis begins by considering general effects that attending a festival in which people must remain inside the premises over a series of days (a "lived-in" festival) might have on participants' ability to engage with others in intimate, intersubjective encounters. It then outlines the "official activities" of Euphoria and Scorched Nuts--those activities orchestrated by event organizers and which involve all or essentially all who enter the grounds--and shows how these activities create distinct overarching dramaturgies for each festival that establish commonalities between participants and energize them to socialize with one another. Finally, it examines case studies of Scorched Nuts' unofficial activities--those orchestrated by participants, rather than organizers, and generally involving only a few people at a time--proposing that these activities are the primary sites where communitas arises in a festival setting.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Theatre in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Includes bibliographical references.
Elizabeth Osborne, Professor Directing Thesis; Mary Karen Dahl, Committee Member; Krzystof Salata, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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