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Theatre Journal (2014) - The Theatre and its Screen Double




This essay offers a close exploration of the live filming and sound production in the schaubühne berlin staging of strindberg’s Fräulein Julie (directed by Katie Mitchell, shown on tour at the barbican, london, in 2012). It provides a series of theoretical and critical angles from which to discuss contemporary intermedia performance and audiovisual scenography. After a brief evocation of Artaud’s writings in “theatre and cruelty” and on raw cinema, the essay builds on a historical understanding of Western theatre’s evolving and hardly settled relationship to cinematography and moving-image technologies, as well as the “choreographic unconscious,” as examined in contemporary dance and technology, before delving into an analysis of Mitchell’s dramaturgy of real-time film construction and her use of the “camera-actor.” A particular emphasis is placed on the question whether the live mediatization of realist drama, under Mitchell’s direction, deliberately weakens the theatricality of the physical body and spoken language while proffering an extenuated, if uncritical/unpolitical modulation of digital prosthetics in a superbly crafted, seamless intermedial performance.