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Introduction The papers in this volume were selected from work presented at the April 2010 SETC Theatre Symposium. In the call for papers, scholars were invited to examine the mutual influence of theatre and film through consideration of shared history, present practices, and ongoing connections. They were challenged to contemplate the following questions: Can we enrich our understanding of theatre through more extensive consideration of the closely related art of film? In what ways do film and theatre borrow from each other? Are theatre scholars and practitioners overly defensive in asserting the unique aspects of live theatrical performance due to the greater popularity of film? Given the exact reproducibility of film, along with transferability to video, DVD, Internet, and so on, movies are widely available. Beyond ease of access, do theatre and film really make different demands on audiences? Or, is the job of spectating much the same for both art forms? Interested participants gathered at Agnes Scott College for a weekend of papers and discussion about these and related questions. The papers offered many different perspectives on the relationship of film—broadly construed by presenters to include video and digital media—to live theatrical performance. Theatre Symposium keynote speaker Bruce McConachie made the case that similar cognitive abilities are involved in viewing both theatre and film. As he remarked in his address, “Most of the mental operations that Homo sapiens deploy to make sense of live performances are also used to understand filmic ones.” He further argued that “[w]hile there are important historical differences among live and mediated modes of communication, they share a common evolutionary and cognitive foundation.” A version of McConachie’s keynote talk, entitled 6 i N T R o D U C T i o N “Theatre and Film in Evolutionary Perspective,” is included in this volume . It is joined by eight other papers chosen from the twenty-four presented during the symposium. In her essay “Melodramatic Borrowings: Life, Stage, Screen,” Erin Bone Steele examines the recycling of nineteenth-century British murder melodramas as low-budget films in the 1930s. The next two papers both involve theatre artists with an interest in incorporating film or mediated images into their stage work. In “Robert Edmond Jones: Theatre and Motion Pictures, Bridging Reality and Dreams,” Anthony Hostetter and Elisabeth Hostetter explore the influential American scenic designer’s vision for using film as a backdrop to convey characters’ inner lives and communicate on the level of symbols and unconscious thoughts. Advances in technology since the early 1950s when Jones imagined a “theater of the future” have made the inclusion of film and video images in stage productions much more prevalent in recent years. Director Frank Castorf is one theatre artist whose work regularly features mediated material , both prerecorded images and live video feed, as a prominent element in his theatrical productions. Steve Earnest considers the aims of Castorf’s “dual aesthetic of theatre and film” in his essay “Frank Castorf at the Volksbühne am Rosa Luxembourg Platz: Alienation Techniques and the Use of Mediated Material on the Live Stage.” Two of the papers grapple with the anxiety generated as traditional stage practice engages with new media technologies and as a home video industry threatens to supplant a nation’s live theatre. In “The London Theatre Goes Digital: Divergent Responses to the New Media,” Leslie A. Wade explores the ways the British stage has embraced digital media and discusses how differing attitudes to the new technology on view in two recent theatre productions reflect a larger cultural debate. Becky Becker examines how a burgeoning film and video industry in Nigeria threatens to destroy a once vibrant theatre culture in her paper “Nollywood : Film and Home Video, or the Death of Nigerian Theatre.” Another set of writers explore various ways films and videos can incorporate theatre, theatricality, and even the performativity traditionally ascribed to “live” theatre. Nathan Stith in “The Performative Nature of Filmed Reproductions of Live Performance” looks at Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s performance piece Two Amerindians Visit the West and the resulting documentary, The Couple in the Cage, along with Sacha Baron Cohen’s mockumentary Borat. Stith highlights the ways audiences...


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