In Comes I proposes an original approach to the study of performance. Drawing from archaeology, geomorphology, folklore, local and family history, it challenges disciplinary boundaries and scholarly conventions. The book takes ‘region’ as its optic, acknowledging the affective ties between people and place.
The author returns to the landscape of his childhood and uses it as a mnemonic to reflect widely upon performance theory and practice. In the form of a series of excursions in a defined geographical area—off the beaten track in eastern England—the book weaves together themes of performance and land, biography and locality, memory and place.
Evoking moments from different periods over the last 200 years, forming them into an asynchronous juxtaposition, attempting to create a deep map . . . the book might serve as a guidebook for a journey through a landscape imagined, the texts stimulating and catalysing memories and reminiscences of similar times, similar places, similar experiences—and other times, other places, other experiences—in acts of biographical wandering.
Why In Comes I?
Why In Comes I? To signal the autobiographical content of the book and the inclusion of the first person narrative in an academic context, certainly. But also in acknowledgement of regional performance traditions: ‘In comes I’ is the ubiquitous opening line for characters in local traditional drama:
‘In comes I the Fool,I can’t come in at the window, so I have to come in at the door.
I have several more lads outside,
Some can dance and some can sing,
By your consent, they shall come in.’
Mike Pearson, Professor of Performance Studies at University of Wales, Aberystwyth, is a leading theatre artist and solo-performer. He has worked both as a director and performer in various theatre companies in Wales, and is co-author of Theatre/Archaeology (Routledge, 2001).