Digital Dramaturgies

An issue of: Theater

Digital Dramaturgies
Journal Issue Pages: 156 Volume 42, Number 2 Published: Summer 2012 An issue of Theater
In recent years, technologies of production and communication have multiplied exponentially, creating new modes of expression and storytelling. The Internet and cell phones allow instantaneous communication across global networks; media communities like YouTube have created venues for amateur performances to reach global audiences; and the enforced brevity of Facebook status updates, Twitter posts, and text messages have created compressed, allusive idioms out of everyday speech. These and other rapid technological and cultural changes have transformed theater, the oldest of “old media.” This special issue of Theater assembles contributions by scholars and artists that explore this transformation, considering both theater’s place in a world conditioned by new media and the place of these new media in the theater.

Contributors to this issue explore a variety of ways—from Twitter plays in 140 characters, to performances from the Avatar Repertory Theater in Second Life, to two computer chatbots “restaging” debates between Michel Foucault and Noam Chomsky—that new technology can perform. Tackling questions of what is considered live theater in a digital age and how new media will share the stage with more traditional forms of performance, this issue establishes theater as a unique medium and meeting place for other media as it moves irreversibly into the digital domain.

Miriam Felton-Dansky and Jacob Gallagher-Ross are DFA candidates in the Department of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at the Yale School of Drama.

Contributors: Sarah Bay-Cheng, Annie Dorsen, Miriam Felton-Dansky, Jacob Gallagher-Ross, Christopher Grobe, Martin Harries, John H. Muse, Nick Salvato, Matthew Wilson Smith, and Alexis Soloski


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Table of Contents Back to Top

Future Shock

Gallagher-Ross, J., Felton-Dansky, M.

Virtual Theater for Beginners

Todorut, I. T.

Theater and Media before "New" Media: Beckett's Film and Play

Harries, M.

Harries looks back at Samuel Beckett’s complex intermedial experiments to historicize the question of theater’s relationship to "new" media, and argue for a more nuanced theorization of theater’s exchanges with other media, and theater’s status as a medium in itself.

Theater Is Media: Some Principles for a Digital Historiography of Performance

Bay-Cheng, S.

In her essay-manifesto, Sarah Bay-Cheng outlines principles for a new historiography of performance taking into account the multiple layers of mediation that surround any experience of live art in the twenty-first century.

140 Characters in Search of a Theater: Twitter Plays

Muse, J. H.

This article surveys the new forms of drama, performance, and spectatorship created by artists making use of the real-time microblogging website Twitter—as either a forum for performance in itself, or way to extend the boundaries of a more conventionally theatrical performance. He goes on to describe the ways in which social media "are making playwrights, performers, and spectators of us all."

Gesamtkunstwerk and Glitch: Robert Lepage's Ring across Media

Smith, M. W.

Smith considers Robert Lepage’s recent high-tech production of Wagner’s Ring cycle at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, as a digital-age extension of the modernist aspiration—incited by Wagner—to create the total work of art.

" Would You Like to Have a Question?"

Dorsen, A., Soloski, A.

Hello Hi There (Excerpt)

Dorsen, A.

The New Old Rush: Berlin's Bonanza

Salvato, N.

Nick Salvato examines the collision between "old" and "new" media staged by the actorless performance piece Bonanza, produced by German multimedia collective Berlin.

Read more…

Viral Performance: Contagious Hoaxes in the Digital Public Sphere

Felton-Dansky, M.

Felton-Dansky proposes a new category of performance called "viral performance," in which artists use new media and technology to stage politically provocative public hoaxes. These artists disseminate tantalizing fictions, then reveal the truths beneath them, as a strategy for "inoculating" the public against paranoia.

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Refined Mechanicals; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Share the Stage: New Scholarship on Theater and Media

Grobe, C.

Additional InformationBack to Top
ISBN Paperback: 978-0-8223-6780-2