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