M. Heather Carver is framed by her clown shadow—a black mannequin head wearing a pink camouflage hat and red clown’s nose—as she joyfully begins to describe her place at MU. “I come from a background of performing,” the Associate Professor of Theatre offers. “As a means of studying something, we perform it.” As a way of studying autobiography, for example, Carver performs autobiography.
In her article, “”http://liminalities.net/3-1/heart.htm">Methodology of the Heart," Carver does several things to draw attention to writing itself as performance: “I was trying to expose the nature of the self in this writing. That’s really what it’s about – trying to make our experiences more raw, more real for the reader.” While this kind of writing takes a lot of courage, because it leaves the writer vulnerable and exposed, Carver adds that “it also takes a sense of play; play is such an important part of performance.”
Performative writing is a way of writing about performance that engages the reader as one would engage the audience when performing in theatre: “So instead of performing over here and then writing about it over there, writing about the work as if the reader were not involved in any kind of audience relationship, performative writing takes the combination of audience, performer, and text and moves that into the writing of performance.” By involving those different levels, Carver suggests, writing “is more accessible to people.”