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(dis)Embodied: Embodied Performance in the Digital Age


In the Covid-19 pandemic, we searched for many things: answers to how it spread, a vaccine and, more immediately, we searched for human connections amongst our isolation. In the theatre industry, we searched for how to produce theatre in a time of social distancing. Many virtual performances missed why so many people turn to theatre instead of just turning on the TV: community and interactions. This leads me to question - is embodied performance possible when we are mediated through a screen? In my thesis, I delve into my work as a costume designer and collaborator to explore what embodied performance is and the immediacy of its evolution in the turn to virtual. I question whose “body” is necessary in embodiment. I find that in mediated and virtual performance, embodiment has changed. The audience is primary in the engagement of the performance for it is within the audience’s perception that the performance lives. While we are re-emerging from distancing ourselves as a society, I believe the impact of virtual performance is here to stay. As we move into a world that is seeking the feeling of presence through a screen, our ways of creating performance will react to what our audience needs.

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