This essay examines the possibilities of intimacy in intermedial theatrical performance. It employs the term “possibility” in the sense both of the potential for intimacy to occur (as in “is it possible?”) and in the sense of the potential utility of intimacy as a dramaturgical strategy (as in “that which it makes possible”). There is an implicit paradox in this plurality, one that suggests that the complex purposes to which intimacy might be put in intermedial performance do not necessarily rely on the basic possibility of intimacy occurring, let alone being sustained, in this context. However, the two sides of this coin of possibility can be understood as only apparently mutually exclusive—as not merely coincidental, but, in fact, interdependent—and this essay explores precisely this paradox as process through the consideration of two case studies: bluemouth inc.’s interdisciplinary performance event Dance Marathon, and the solodevised work-in-progress Swimmer (68), co-created by Ker Wells and the essay’s author. Specifically, the essay foregrounds the dynamic of intermedial anxiety as conspicuously productive. Rather than being an ancillary impediment or distraction, by heightening vulnerability, immersion, interactivity, and investment—of performers, as well as spectators—intermedial anxiety can both pinpoint and activate vital possibilities of/for/in theatrical intimacy.


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pp. 575-601
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