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Naïve comedy in a dangerous virtual world: Expanding theatrical presence with online devices

Naïve comedy in a dangerous virtual world: Expanding theatrical presence with online devices

Wallis, Jillian (2015) Naïve comedy in a dangerous virtual world: Expanding theatrical presence with online devices. Body, Space and Technology, 14. ISSN 1470-9120 (Online) (doi:

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This paper discusses the process and resulting performance piece So Pleased To Meet You, which was created for the Digital Research in Humanities & Arts 2014 conference by myself and Pattern Fight Performance, with me as guest director. This practice-based research considers the impact of modern communication tools such as Chatroulette and Facebook as social and cultural licensees and asks how these devices open up possibilities for performance making. The piece is arguably attempting to combine what Matthew Causey calls the theatre ‘born of illusion’ and theatre ‘issuing from the virtual’ (2006: 97). When a (fictitious) bored customer services worker convinces (real) total strangers that she is a bioscientist undertaking cutting edge research, how does the presence of these socially networked ‘performers’ expand theatrical space? The dual performativity of the live character complicates and interrogates the use of pre-recorded projections as the audience suspend their disbelief and yet do not: they follow the doom laden narrative arc yet remain in on the joke(s). Jacques Lecoq’s notion of the revelation of internal innocence will be drawn on to consider the mechanisms at play as the performer heads for disaster within a virtual spatial realm of her own making.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).
Uncontrolled Keywords: performance, connectivity, virtual persona, Chatroulette, cultural licensee, comedy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Department of Literature, Language & Theatre
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 17 May 2019 09:48
Selected for GREAT 2016: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: GREAT 1
Selected for REF2021: None

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